This recipe can be pulled-off with using any one of the following gadgets (yes I own all three of them). The first is a box grater and considered a “must” in the Greek kitchen. The box grater is used to grate ripe tomatoes and the pulp is used in many Greek dishes. The second kitchen gadget (again a must but for any kitchen) is the vegetable peeler. I like the forked style of vegetable peeler where I don’t have to hold it sideways and I can peel a bag of potatoes in minutes! The last gadget one may have in their kitchen is a little thingy that actually “Frenches” your green beans into thin strips – awesome!
Any one of the above three gadgets will help you in preparing this quick, easy and delicious Spring-time salad of asparagus with a light dressing and crumbled Feta cheese. Ever had raw asparagus before? Make this salad your first foray into a raw asparagus salad. When sliced thinly, the asparagus is easy to eat and in this case the sea salt and lemon juice cure (or cook) the vegetable.
The side of the box grater with the large wholes can be used to grate the asparagus into thin but short shavings of asparagus. The vegetable peeler will give you long & thin shavings of asparagus..near perfect! The bean ‘Frencher’ will give your thicker shoe strings of asparagus – also ideal for this whimsical salad. Choose your weapon and now it’s time to gather your ingredients!
Greek extra-virgin olive oil, go to your local grocer and look for some on the shelf. If there’s no Greek olive oil then ask your grocer to get some. Why, because Greek olive oil is pure, undiluted and uncompromised. I was at a friend’s last night and found a jar of roasted peppers in “olive oil” from a brand starting with the letter “B”. The oil did not solidify in the fridge – meaning…it wasn’t pure olive oil!
Some fresh thyme or dried Greek oregano is the herb to use here along with some chopped fresh parsley to act as a foil to the raw garlic in the salad. Add the zest and juice of fresh lemon (that means no juice from a bottle), coarse sea salt & fresh ground pepper and Feta cheese that only is made in Greece. Look for Greek Feta, taste the difference then try it out in this salad. It’s light, the thinly shaved asparagus has a slight crunch, there’s the garlic in the background, lemon and olive oil are bright, the thyme or oregano warm like the Spring sun and Feta cheese reminding you of the big slabs of cheese that would arrive on your table on that Greek vacation.
Asparagus Salad Garlic & Feta (Σαλατα με ωμο Σπαραγγια, Σκορδο & Φέτα)
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 extra-virgin Greek olive oil
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
5-6 sprigs of thyme leaves (1 tsp. dried Greek oregano)
1/4 chopped fresh parsley
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese
- Rinse your asparagus under cold water and drain/pat-dry. Snap-off the woody ends (discard) of your asparagus and shave them thinly with any of three gadgets mentioned in the above post. Place in a bowl with the coarse sea salt and lemon juice and allow to sit for 15 minutes (the salt and lemon juice with cure the asparagus).
- Add the minced garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, parsley and fresh thyme leaves and gently toss. Adjust seasoning and serve in a bowl or a platter. Top with fresh ground pepper, crumbled Feta cheese and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Omit the Feta and this salad becomes totally Lent-friendly.
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