There is something about the combination of asparagus and lemon that keeps me coming back for more. This recipe has a similar flavor profile to the Asparagus with Lemon-Pepper Marinade , but don’t fret; this dish serves a different purpose than that one. I imagine the grilled asparagus in the second recipe being served on paper plates in a crowded, smoke-filled backyard with Outkast, UGK, and the Hot Boys bumpin’ through speakers. I see this salad being served on matte gray ceramic plates in your partner’s parents’ dining room when you’re meeting them for the first time, with Charles Mingus playing softly in the background so y’all can have polite conversation. I’m just BS’ing. This is a quick and easy salad that helps you make the most of farm-fresh asparagus during its short peak season. I know you can probably get asparagus year-round, but you can’t beat the flavor of those beautiful stalks in April and May. The key to really killing this salad is using a mandoline or a vegetable peeler to slice the asparagus into delicate strips that easily soak up the dressing. If you can’t access Meyer lemons, Eureka or other varieties will work just fine. And feel free to experiment with other spring vegetables or with any number of shaveable vegetables such as beets, radishes, or fennel. I promise, everyone from your parents to your patnas will be smiling while eating this.
¼ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced shallot
¼ teaspoon whole-grain mustard
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
6 tablespoons walnut oil
Freshly ground white pepper
2 pounds large asparagus
1 Eureka lemon, cut in half
1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon zest
⅓ cup walnuts, toasted and finely grated with a Microplane
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
In a blender, combine the Meyer lemon juice, shallot, mustard, garlic, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. With the blender running, slowly pour in the walnut oil through the hole in the lid. Taste and season with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon salt over the asparagus, then squeeze the juice from the Eureka lemon over the top. Toss gently to combine.
Add enough of the dressing to lightly coat the asparagus, drizzling it around the rim of the bowl to allow it to sink to the bottom. Gently toss to coat. Garnish with the lemon zest, grated walnuts, and the dill, then serve.