In Germany, the asparagus season is an important event that is celebrated every spring. Wherever you eat, traditional inn or fine dining: asparagus everywhere. The classic is of course the delicious recipe of white asparagus and hollandaise sauce, but there are numerous other variants that are equally great.
We love green asparagus almost more than the white version. Green asparagus originates from the Mediterranean region and was already cultivated and appreciated by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Over the centuries, however, it has spread throughout Europe and to other parts of the world. It is healthy because it is rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Not that we are typically advertising diet products here, but green asparagus is actually also very low in calories because it contains hardly any fat, which makes it an ideal choice for a balanced diet.
Unlike white asparagus, green asparagus grows above ground, giving it its colour. Because it is exposed to more sunlight, it also contains more chlorophyll and antioxidants than white asparagus. This makes for a stronger flavour and a slightly firmer texture, which is why it is particularly suitable for grilling, roasting and frying. And it is precisely this characteristic that our salad today is based on.
Let’s get to work! We wash the green asparagus and cut off any woody ends. Another advantage over white asparagus is that we don’t also have to peel it. While we prepare the dressing, we marinate the asparagus in a large bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Then we prepare a vinaigrette. This one is particularly tasty because we add some white miso, which makes it particularly creamy. Miso can also be used as a seasoning paste, not only as a base for soups. It is made from fermented soy and has pure umami flavour, exactly the same type that is so appreciated in Parmesan cheese, the taste of which we are enhancing here.
We have a little trick for salad dressings. If you use a small screw-top jar, perhaps a washed-out store bought jar or similar, you can use it as a perfect shaker for a vinaigrette without having to laboriously mix lumps in a bowl.
We put white miso, mustard and honey in your screw-top jar and add white wine vinegar, orange juice and olive oil. Then we season to taste with black pepper, sea salt and optionally a little garlic powder. Now all we have to do is shake well and there we have our perfectly creamy vinaigrette.
Now for the Parmesan crisps, which are impressive but actually very easy to make. We just roughly grate Parmesan cheese and gently fry the flakes in pan over medium heat until golden brown and crispy.
It is then taken out of the pan and drained on kitchen paper.
We also toast our roughly chopped almonds in the same pan and set them aside until serving.
We pluck the mint, dill and, optionally, some coriander into small pieces. Herbs usually taste better on a salad if they are torn by hand and not chopped finely with a knife.
The last thing we have to do is grilling the asparagus. We prefer to use a grill pan because it creates the appetising grill marks, but you may also do this on a baking tray in the oven. Depending on the size, the asparagus only needs 5 – 10 minutes to become soft, but it should still have a bite to it.
When this is done, we arrange it decoratively on a large plate and add our herbs to the asparagus plus a few quartered cherry tomatoes for colour and flavour contrast. We carefully drizzle our vinaigrette over the whole thing so that all the ingredients are evenly covered.
Finally, we sprinkle the salad with the toasted almonds and decorate with our Parmesan crisps. Some freshly toasted bread goes very well with it, too.
And may the taste be with you.
Ingredients (for 4 people as a side dish):
500 g green asparagus
A handful of cherry tomatoes
50 g almonds
A bunch of dill and fresh mint leaves, optionally also fresh coriander
100 g Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette:
2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Juice of one orange
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Black pepper from the mill
A little sea salt