When asparagus is abundant and snappy fresh, here’s a fantastic way to use it. You will need a sharp, preferably U- or V-shaped vegetable peeler, which is the best tool to peel the asparagus into thin shavings. It’s impossible to peel the whole thing into thin slices, so you can either toss the thicker pieces into the salad or save them for a soup or omelette. Choose thicker asparagus for this, as it will be easier to shave. Don’t trim the bottoms as you usually would, so you’ll have something to grab onto, and pull the peeler from a few inches from the bottom of the stalk toward the tip. Turn the stalk over when you reach the middle, and then shave the sides.
1 lemon, preferably organic, scrubbed
1 small shallot, thinly sliced on a mandoline
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus (about 1 bunch)
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons roasted salted pistachios (I love the Wonderful Pistachios brand), slightly crushed
1⁄2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
1 Zest the lemon into a small bowl. Set aside. Juice the lemon (you should have about 2 tablespoons juice). In a large bowl, combine the shallot, lemon juice, oil, and salt and season with pepper. Thinly shave the asparagus, as described above. Toss with the dressing and season with more salt and pepper.
2 Transfer to a serving bowl and shave the cheese over the top using the vegetable peeler. Sprinkle with the pistachios and mint leaves and serve.
Susan Spungen is a cook, food stylist, recipe developer, and cookbook author. She was the founding food editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia from its inception until 2003. She was the culinary consultant and food stylist on the feature films Julie & Julia, It’s Complicated, and Eat, Pray, Love. She is the author of Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook, What’s a Hostess to Do?, and Strawberries (a Short Stack Edition) and co-author of the best-selling Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook. She lives in New York City and East Hampton, NY.