Last week I told you about the Mini Spinach and Cheddar Frittatas I made for the peanut’s naming. In addition to an egg dish, I wanted to include a light and summery salad. I had a hard time thinking of what to do that wouldn’t overlap with the veggies already present as a side for the bagels or in the Lentil Salad. Until, that is, I remembered a recent post in Smitten Kitchen for an asparagus ribbon salad. I thought this was such a cool idea – just eating raw ribbons of asparagus. After a little more digging, I found a similar Giada De Laurentiis recipe that combined zucchini ribbons with small asparagus pieces, also in a lemon dressing, and decided to combine the two concepts. After being told by several people that I was crazy to make a salad for 35 people that required shredding the veggies with a peeler, I bit the bullet and allotted a decent amount of time for prep of this salad the day before the party. I am happy to report that not only did it take way less time than I expected to make my ribbons, but the ribbons also held up beautifully in zip-top bags in my fridge (without dressing!) overnight.
On the day of the party, this salad just kept disappearing! Despite some skeptical looks when I told guests the asparagus was raw, overall I got rave reviews, including comments from people who generally don’t like asparagus telling me they loved this salad. My serving bowl wasn’t quite big enough for the amount that I prepared, and we had to refill the bowl several times as people came back for seconds…and thirds :). I hope you’ll keep this in mind as a yummy side dish for your family or as a unique dish to serve to company!
Asparagus and Zucchini Ribbon Salad
adapted from Food Network and Smitten Kitchen
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 ounces Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
Trim the ends off of the zucchini and then use a vegetable peeler to create long strips. Next, lay each asparagus spear flat on a cutting board and, holding the woody end, use the vegetable peeler to make long strips from the base to tip (I found this easiest with a “Y” shaped peeler). Discard the woody ends when you’re done. Use your peeler to create shavings of the cheese as well.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
Create the salad by layering veggies and cheese and gently tossing with some dressing about 1/3 at a time. Serve immediately or up to 2 hours after dressing.
Do ahead: Prepare the veggie and cheese strips and store in zip-top bags overnight, mixing up the dressing and storing in a separate container. Toss up to 2 hours before serving and add cheese at the last minute.