may 9, 2019
The less done to fresh asparagus, the better. Brief blanching, quick roasting or a few hops in the saute pan will do. If you’re lucky enough to score some tender, first-of-the-season asparagus, no cooking at all is just fine. Shaved in a salad or finely diced, as in this Asparagus Salsa Verde, asparagus has a pleasantly grassy flavor and gentle crunch that is unlike any other vegetable. It needs a bright wake up from citrus or acid to come to life. This salsa combines fresh asparagus with lime juice and green as far as the eye can see—except for a few bits of red onion for flavor and contrast.
Creamy green from avocado, crunchy green from celery and pistachio and aromatic green from fresh mint. Add heat to your liking; I leave the jalapeño seeds in the salsa and add a few shakes of ground chipotle powder for power heat. Two hallmarks of this salsa recipe : easy and no-cook, and thick and chunky so no dripping on your shirt while you enjoy with a nice cold beverage and crispy tortilla chips. This salsa would also be great as a topping for egg dishes and grilled protein. Imagine this salsa as a chunky salad dressing with crunchy veggies like spring radishes and young carrots. The possibilities are endless.
Asparagus Salsa Verde is not a great make ahead dish, but its virtues outweigh that minor drawback. It’s so easy to pull together at the last minute. Tender and tasty local asparagus will do best with this recipe. Thicker, older stalks would not give the same flavor or texture—if that’s what you’re working with, it might be good to roast the spears briefly at 400 degrees to let the flavor bloom.
What a great surprise treat to bring to a cookout! We eat with our eyes first— admiring this vivid green sauce piled high next to a bowl of chips will excite your tastebuds even before that first bite. Get some asparagus at your local farmer’s market before it’s all gone for the season and whip up a batch of fresh, clean salsa.
Asparagus Salsa Verde
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 2 cups
1 ½ cups finely diced raw asparagus, preferably tender and local
¼ cup finely diced red onion
2 stalks celery, finely diced, including leaves
⅓ cup raw or roasted pistachios, chopped coarsely
1 large jalapeño pepper, finely minced (include seeds for heat if desired)
one medium avocado, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
juice of one large lime
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 shakes ground chipotle powder (or to taste)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Gently toss together all ingredients except oil and season to taste.
- Pour olive oil over salsa and gently combine.
- Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours.