This asparagus and pecorino salad is simplicity itself. Raw asparagus and pecorino-Romano cheese are thinly shaved into a bowl. A vinaigrette made with lemon juice, lemon marmalade, and olive oil is drizzled on top. Twenty minutes tops.
Spring asparagus has a sublimely sweet, grassy taste whose subtleties tend to be masked when subjected to heat, even the mildest forms. The stems are especially sweet and can be served to great effect when left raw, shaved, and tossed with lemon and pecorino. Save the asparagus tips for a lovely pasta, risotto, or salad of another sort.–Mario Batali
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What to Serve with Vinaigrette Dressing
You’ll end up with a little extra vinaigrette. What a shame. No need to get vertigo over the situation. You may just want to make another batch of the asparagus and pecorino salad the next night, as we did. Or conjure another use for this sprightly picker-upper. (Should you find yourself in need of inspiration, consider dribbling or drizzling it over blanched sugar snaps or green beans, grilled or seared fish fillets, roast chicken or broiled fillets, or a simple salad of escarole or even frisee tossed with thinly shaved fennel. That help?)
Asparagus and Pecorino Salad
For the lemon vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon marmellata (er, that’s marmalade. If you really can’t find any, substitute a pinch of lemon zest)
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil preferably Tuscan
For the asparagus salad
- 1 pound asparagus tough bottoms ends snapped off, tips trimmed and reserved for another use
- 2 to 3 ounces pecorino Romano
- 1/4 cup lemon vinaigrette
- Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
Make the lemon vinaigrette
- Whisk together the lemon juice, marmellata, and olive oil together in a small bowl. You should have about 3/4 cup. (The vinaigrette can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
Make the asparagus salad
- Using a handheld mandoline or a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the asparagus, making long diagonal shavings. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Shave or thinly slice the pecorino and add it to the asparagus. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette, season lightly with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve with the remaining vinaigrette on the side.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I really liked this asparagus and pecorino salad, but my husband didn’t. The freshness of the asparagus really shone through, aided by the wonderful, lemony brightness from the vinaigrette and the creaminess from the cheese. My husband, however, thought the asparagus was lost in this recipe. Regardless, I’d make this again in a heartbeat, and most certainly for company.
I’m not usually a fan of raw vegetables—except tomatoes, of course—but I do like this asparagus and pecorino salad. It helps to have very fresh asparagus. To shave it, I tried both the vegetable peeler and the mandoline methods, but found it was easier to use a knife. I also visited four stores for the lemon marmalade but couldn’t find it anywhere. I ended up using the recipe’s lemon zest option, adding just a few drops of honey to make up for the sweetness that would’ve been in the marmalade. The end result was quite good, and I’ll make this again, but only when asparagus is in season.
What a lovely recipe to highlight raw asparagus! Although slicing the asparagus took awhile, it was soooo worth it. Make sure your vegetable peeler’s blade isn’t close to the back of the peeler, or the asparagus could get caught. My peeler worked well, but even so, I had lots of broken asparagus tips (but those, of course, went into the salad). I loved the brightness of the asparagus with the shaved Pecorino. The marmalade really did make a difference to an otherwise basic vinaigrette. This was an insanely simple dish to make that really got our dinner guests’ attention. It looks impressive, tastes marvelous and is very quick to make. This recipe will definitely be added to my asparagus recipe collection. The technique of shaving asparagus was really an “a-ha” moment for me.
Simple, elegant, flavorful, and healthy, this beautiful ode-to-spring salad is delightful and delicious. The type of olive oil you use will make a huge difference in how the dish tastes. I had an Arbequina olive oil on hand, which is soft and fruity, making the salad clean in flavor. I added a lot of freshly ground black pepper to give the lemony asparagus the added kick it needed. This is just a perfect, seasonal recipe that everyone can make.
This asparagus and pecorino salad is the essence of spring—bright, fresh, crisp, and light. I opted for the veggie peeler over the mandoline because I wasn’t sure how to slice the thin stalks without hurting myself. I ended up with the tips leftover, so I just threw them in the bowl with the shaved portion. The ingredients say you can sub in lemon zest in for the marmalade, but use the marmalade if you can because it has a bit of sweetness that adds to the dressing. You’ll get a crisp bite from the asparagus, a bright lemon note from the dressing, and a nutty saltiness from the cheese. It took awhile to shave all of the asparagus, but the end result was worth it. I may never steam asparagus again.
I love this asparagus and pecorino salad! One pound of asparagus is quite a lot, when you are thinly slicing each spear with a vegetable peeler. That was not a problem, because the salad was so delicious, we made it three days in a row. (I also made it twice the next week.) This is another one of those times when you really need to use very good ingredients. The first time I made this I used organic asparagus, and it was wonderful. The second time, I did not buy organic asparagus, and ended up peeling the outside because it was a bit tough. I would also imagine that early spring asparagus is best for this dish. I did not reserve the tips for another use. The tips are not only beautiful in this salad, they are also wonderful to eat. I don’t see why anyone would not want them in the salad. I also found that sprinkling walnuts over the top of the salad really takes it over the top. I am going to keep on making this salad as much as I can right now. I can imagine really missing it, when asparagus is no longer in season.
Originally published May 11, 2018