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Dorothy Dean presents: vibrant and enticing asparagus salad with prosciutto, eggs and Dijon vinaigrette

UPDATED: Tue., June 18, 2019, 9:54 p.m.

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

With the bright green stalks of local asparagus making their debut at grocery stores and farmers markets, I couldn’t resist sharing a recipe showcasing the nutrient-packed veggie. After all, Washington in one of the nation’s top asparagus-producing states, with more than 4,500 acres of farms that yield about 22 million pounds a year.

This enticing dish pairs fresh, local asparagus, cooked al dente, with soft-boiled eggs, prosciutto, shaved Asiago cheese and a luxurious lemon-Dijon vinaigrette. While there are few ingredients, each one brings punches of flavor that make this vibrant summer salad irresistible and beyond easy to make.

The asparagus is blanched (briefly boiled, then plunged into ice water), keeping it that vivid emerald hue and giving it a tender, crisp bite. The eggs are then added to the same boiling water and cooked for 7 minutes, leaving them with soft, velvety yolks. A quick whisking of fresh lemon juice, Dijon, honey, minced garlic and olive oil makes the creamy vinaigrette.

And all that’s left is assembling the salad with the delicate ribbons of prosciutto and petals of nutty Asiago cheese, which, alongside the asparagus and eggs, make for a gorgeous presentation with their contrasting colors and textures.

The asparagus also can be sautéed, grilled or roasted and the prosciutto cooked crispy for some crunch. And try the salad with poached eggs. The oozy yolk adds a heavenly richness that will have you asparagus mopping the plate to soak up every last drop. As a light meal or side salad, this dish is perfect for brunch or any occasion.

And to turn it into a more filling main dish, simply layer it atop a carb-loaded vessel such as flatbread, a puff pastry, pizza or bruschetta. This delicious salad definitely celebrates the season’s star. So while the quality is at its peak, take advantage of fresh asparagus, and support our local growers.

Asparagus salad with prosciutto, eggs and Dijon vinaigrette

Adapted from tasteandsee.com

2 bunches asparagus, stalks trimmed

3 large eggs

6-8 slices prosciutto

1 ounce ( 1/4 cup) Asiago cheese, shaved

To taste: salt, pepper and paprika

For the vinaigrette:

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

pinch of pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add ice water to a large bowl and set it next to the stove. Add asparagus to the boiling water. Once water returns to a boil, cook for 2½ minutes. Then, using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to the bowl of ice water.

Once water returns to a boil, add the eggs and cook for 7 minutes. While the eggs cook, remove the asparagus to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.

Place the eggs into the ice water to cool. Once cooled, remove the shells and cut each egg in half.

To make the vinaigrette, add all ingredients for it in a bowl and whisk until combined.

To assemble the salad, arrange the asparagus and eggs on a serving platter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and top with prosciutto and Asiago cheese.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonand swallow@yahoo.com.

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