Meat-Free Grilling Series #3: Shaved Asparagus Salad with Pecorino

When I first made this, I was convinced that these dainty little pieces of shaved asparagus would fall straight through the grates of my grill and turn into a huge mess. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case, but you can always use a piece of foil underneath the asparagus to stay mess-free. Using a mandoline, I sliced the asparagus spears about 1/4" thick and simply tossed them with olive oil and salt before grilling them. You can also do this in a grill pan on your stovetop and be just fine. It is simply dressed, topped with shaved Pecorino cheese and some toasted nuts...simple, satisfying, and easy to make ahead!

grilled-asparagus-salad-pecorino-recipe.jpg

Ingredients

1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed and sliced 1/4" thick
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. olive oil, separated
1 tsp. good quality Dijon mustard (I use Edmond Fallot)
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. capers, rinsed and finely chopped
1-2 oz. Pecorino cheese, shaved
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. almonds or hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Method

A mandoline really makes slicing the asparagus a breeze...but if you must use a knife, you may want to just slice each asparagus spear in half lengthwise. In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus in 1 tbsp. of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place the asparagus spears on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes per side, until they are soft but not falling apart. Remove from grill and let cool slightly. 

In the meantime, prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, capers, and some salt and pepper, until thick and well-combined. 

To serve, lightly drizzle dressing over asparagus, then simply top with shaved Pecorino cheese (I use a vegetable peeler to shave hard cheeses), toasted nuts, and a pinch of freshly-ground black pepper.