Ensalada de Esparragos

Growing up in Vermont, in the country, nothing said spring to me like asparagus and morel mushrooms. Morels have this intense, concentrated mushroom flavor, and after you rehydrate them, you can use the leftover water to make a great vinaigrette.
Save Recipe
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
Share This Recipe

Ingredients

Peel from ½ lemon

3 cloves garlic

1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 bunch asparagus

1 bunch scallions, trimmed white bulbs and about 1 inch of the light green parts only, halved lengthwise

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, may substitute portobellos or chanterelles

1/4 cup dried morel mushrooms, soaked in ¼ cup of hot water for 10 minutes; may substitute dried shiitakes or dried chanterelles

5 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

3 large eggs

Ice cubes

3 cups mixed greens, such as kale or arugula

1/2 cup ricotta salata

Directions

  1. Marinade: Cut strips of lemon peel from half a lemon. Crush the garlic cloves, and combine with the lemon peel and ¼ cup of the olive oil in a shallow baking dish. For the asparagus, trim and discard the tough ends; if the asparagus are fat, cut the stalks in half lengthwise. Set aside with the trimmed scallion bulbs. Heat a large griddle or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, lay the asparagus and scallions on the dry griddle in a single, uncrowded layer; let them sizzle for about 30 seconds. Season with salt, then drizzle with olive oil.
  2. While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the mushrooms for the salad. Remove the stems from the fresh mushrooms and thinly slice the caps; you'll need about ¾ cup sliced mushrooms. (Optional: Reserve stems to make mushroom stock.) Remove the soaked morel mushrooms from the hot water, reserving the liquid. Flip the vegetables to brown the other side. Then prepare the vinaigrette: Whisk together the mushroom soaking liquid, ¼ cup white wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and ¾ cup of the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside.Remove the vegetables from the griddle and add to the garlic-lemon peel marinade; stir to coat.
  3. Add the fresh and soaked mushrooms to the hot, dry griddle. Season with salt and pepper, then add a drizzle of olive oil and the butter, evenly distributed. Cook on the griddle for about 2 minutes, adding a bit more olive oil as needed. Just before removing them from heat, finish the mushrooms with the remaining tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Add mushrooms to the marinated asparagus and set aside.
  4. To soft-boil the eggs, bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Use tongs or a slotted spoon to gently lower the eggs into the water; set a timer for 6½ minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath to shock the eggs.As the eggs are cooking, gather the rest of the ingredients to finish the salad. In a large bowl, combine the greens and season with salt and pepper. Toss the greens with 1–2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, to taste. To plate, lay down some grilled vegetables on a plate; add a layer of dressed greens, followed by another layer of the grilled vegetables. Crumble the ricotta salata over the salad.
  5. After exactly 6½ minutes, remove the eggs to the ice bath to cool completely; once they're cool, peel them, cut in half, and place on salad. Finish the salad with a few grinds of pepper and a drizzle of the vinaigrette. When serving, make sure each portion includes half an egg.