This shaved asparagus salad actually started out as an asparagus wrapped with pastrami recipe, but when that didn’t work out, my wife Michele saved the day, and convinced me to go raw – and I do mean convince.
I really dislike under-cooked asparagus, and in virtually every video I’ve used it, I’ve pleaded with the audience to make sure the spears get to the sweet and tender stage. I’ve always felt that the main reason most people who don’t like asparagus, is that they grew up eating it crunchy, barely warm, and bitter.
However, when you shave it thin with a peeler, and give it a quick curing/pickling in the dressing, those harsh attributes mellow out substantially, and the sweet, grassy flavor comes through. In fact, it was so delicious that I contemplated serving it without the fried meat. Happily, that passed.
Thanks to the pastrami’s aromatic spices, subtle smokiness, and peppery finish, it was a perfect match. Of course, you can substitute with bacon or ham; but the cured beef brisket was a nice change of pace to those much more common, pork-based choices.
Just be sure to not dress your raw asparagus until you’re ready to eat. The couple minutes it takes to fry the meat is all the marination time you’ll need. Anyway, peak asparagus season is almost upon us, and if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy it, I hope you give this shaved asparagus salad a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4 portions:
24 large asparagus spears (save bottoms for soup)
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste
4 oz pastrami, sliced thin
For the dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (or regular rice vinegar with a pinch of salt and sugar)
3-4 tbsp olive oil, or to taste
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