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Asparagus Caesar Salad

Switch Up Your Salad Routine With an Asparagus Caesar

Pungent, salty, and bright, the caesar salad at Zuni Cafe — a much-lauded San Francisco restaurant — is an absolute must-order dish and my desert-island salad. Add the dressing to ribboned asparagus, and it's near unbeatable.

Unlike whole asparagus spears, ribboned asparagus is very delicate in texture, so make certain to dress the salad shortly before serving, as the acid will soften the ribbons. Feel free to add crispy croutons or extra whole anchovies to the salad, though I find it pretty much perfect as is.

Keep reading for the fast and easy recipe.

Ribboned Asparagus Caesar Salad

Dressing adapted from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons From San Francisco's Beloved Restaurant by Judy Rogers

Asparagus Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  2. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 2 1/4 tablespoons chopped salt-packed anchovy fillets (3 to 5 fillets), or anchovy paste
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  5. A few pinches of kosher salt
  6. 1 large egg
  7. 1 1/2 ounces parmigiano-reggiano, finely grated (3/4 cup very lightly packed), plus shavings for garnish
  8. Freshly cracked black pepper
  9. 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  10. 1 large bunch (1 pound) asparagus, ribboned

Directions

  1. Whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, anchovy fillets, garlic, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Add the egg, a few sprinkles of the cheese, lots of black pepper, and the lemon juice. Whisk to emulsify. Taste the dressing, first by itself and then on a ribbon of asparagus; adjust to taste.
  2. Add the asparagus ribbons to a second mixing bowl and drizzle with a small amount of dressing. Sprinkle on the remainder of the grated parmigiano-reggiano and toss to coat. Add more dressing, tasting along the way (you'll likely have extra), until the asparagus is dressed to your liking.
  3. Divvy up the salad among the plates and garnish with a few shavings of parmigiano-reggiano.

Serves one to two, with extra dressing left over.

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