April 22, 2014

PHYLLIS'S RAW ASPARAGUS + FENNEL SALAD

I'm sure those of you who regularly read food blogs are well aware of Phyllis Grant and her bad ass blog, Dash and Bella. Phyllis's writing is funny, raw, heartbreaking, kinetic, passionate... her words can make you belly-laugh and cry all in one sitting. And her food is good, really good.

Back in the summer of 2009 when I started here, I didn't know anyone writing a blog (let alone a food blog) until one day at the market, Sarah an old friend and early reader of Yummy Supper, said... "Hey did you know Phyllis is writing a blog too?" Phyllis and I had gone to high-school together, had always been friendly, but had never known each other well.

Unbeknownst to either of us, Phyllis and I started our blogs within weeks of one another, each of us cooking, photographing and writing in our own kitchens on either side of Berkeley. After running into Sarah at the market, I rushed home to check out Dash and Bella and I was immediately hooked on Phyllis's stories, photos, and recipes. I reached out to Phyllis right away, and we quickly fell into what my husband calls our "blogmance." For nearly 5 years, Phyllis and I have chatted on the phone for hours at a time, talking about geeky blogging stuff that honestly none of my non-blogging friends would want to hear. Our conversations wander from recipe developing to parenting, aperture to marriage, book writing to home birth. Phyllis has become one of dearest friends and I'm grateful to have had her insights and support throughout this crazy adventure.

...................

I first made Phyllis' asparagus fennel salad way back in 2010 when Dash and Bella was still in its infancy and I haven't been able to forget how good it tasted. When I asked Phyllis if she minded if I shared her salad here, she said she had forgotten all about the recipe. What?! I told her, "This salad is way too good to be forgotten!"

With asparagus reining as queen of the market these days, I want to eat it every which way while the season lasts. I like that Phyllis leaves the asparagus raw in this salad, combining the slivers with shaved fennel, Parmesan and a dressing that packs a serious punch.




INGREDIENTS from Phyllis Grant's Dash and Bella
printable recipe
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon champagne or white wine vinegar
  • juice and zest of 1/2 Meyer lemon (any lemon will do here)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 anchovy, chopped fine (Vegetarian friends: leave out the anchovy. The dressing will still be packed with flavor.)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 stalks of asparagus, rough ends trimmed
  • a medium fennel bulb (core and stalks removed) + fronds
  • flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan, Piave or Reggiano
  • optional: serve on a bed of steamed quinoa

First, whip up your dressing: Combine shallot, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, capers, and anchovy. Set aside for 10 minutes. Then, add mustard and finally whisk in olive oil. Feel free to adjust seasoning with additional lemon juice or olive oil to taste. Set aside. Keep in mind that the dressing can be made (even a couple of days) in advance.

Cut asparagus at an angle into very thin slices. (Phyllis suggests peeling asparagus stalks until just before the tip. If you are using tender young asparagus, the peeling isn't necessary. ) Place asparagus slices in a serving dish. Slice fennel as thinly as possible, using a mandolin if you've got one. Toss the fennel slivers in with the asparagus.

Generously dress the asparagus and fennel. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Top with a few feathery fennel fronds, plenty of shaved Parm. Serve immediately. (Any leftover salad dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.)

The salad would be beautiful served with grilled fish or lamb chops for dinner, and for lunch, I like nestling the salad on top of quinoa, adding an extra splash of dressing and savoring the party of textures and flavors.

48 comments:

  1. I have a favorite asparagus and quinoa salad I make every spring (coming up soon on La Domestique!), but this looks absolutely delicious, and even a bit luxurious! Freshly harvested asparagus is such a treat.

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  2. Jess, quinoa and asparagus are so good together, aren't they? And Phyllis's dressing is seriously delicious. I think you'd love it!
    I'm glad you're well. I look forward to your salad recipe:)
    xoxo
    E

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  3. A refined tasting salad. Lovely shots and recipe.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  4. That is seriously the most beautiful shot of asparagus -- ever! I will look at it longingly, too, when it's short season comes to an end and I continue to jones for its singular taste.

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  5. They really are the queen of veggies aren't they Carolyn! Xoxo

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  6. I love asparagus, and this looks fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing.

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  7. Oh my gosh - this is my kind of salad! Simply stunning. Your photos are great. I need to make this over the weekend and will jump by the farmers market to pick up the goodies. Hope your week is going well!!!

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    1. Lisa! All is well here. Busy and good. I hope you are enjoying the bursts of spring weather we're having - and all the yummy spring veg at the markets:)
      xoxo
      E

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  8. Love, love, love the look and sound of this salad! Anything with anchovies and capers is good in my book, but this salad sound just perfect. Definitely gonna make this very soon. Thanks for inspiring, Erin! xoxo

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    1. Denise, isn't Phyllis' dressing fantastic? I hope you enjoy:)
      xoxo to you,
      E

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  9. Hello, Erin! You're right, this is such a beautiful salad, and I love that you've served it on a bed of quinoa so that it's a full meal. This is the second time in a couple of days that I've seen recipes made with raw shaved asparagus and I'm now definitely sold on the idea. I'm also now off to check out your friend's blog, of course!

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    1. Helen, I always like making salad's into full meals... adding a little dressing to the quinoa in heavenly!
      xo
      E

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  10. I discovered Phyllis through instagram and I love her recipes and images, and her yoga! :)
    Something tells me I will love this salad too. I have been on a asparagus-eating frenzy for a couple of weeks now and my craving is still going strong. I have to give this salad a try! Thanks for sharing it Erin!

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    1. Magda, Phyllis has a great Instagram feed.... such a yogini, isn't she? Just another way she's a bad ass;)
      I'm with you on the asparagus-eating frenzy... SO good!
      xoxo
      E

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  11. It's wonderful how the blog world sometimes brings people together like this doesn't it? Such a fan of both of you.

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    1. Agreed. So funny that Phyllis and I live only 10 minutes from each other and went to high school together, but it wasn't until we started our blogs that we really became true friends. Crazy!
      xoxox

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  12. Love everything that comes out of Yummy Supper AND Dash and Bella, so I'm making this STAT!

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    1. Thanks Katie! We love you back. xoxo E

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  13. Love me this with some sliced chicken on the side...YUMMO! Wonderful pictures. Good to see you on. Hope all is well with you and your family.

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    1. Oli! You are so right... chicken would be delicious with this salad.
      All well here... I hope spring is being good to you and yours.
      xoxo
      E

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  14. I can't get enough asparagus at the moment either, so so good. I love it every way - steamed, raw, roasted, pureed in soup...asparagus season is the best! xx

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    1. Totally! I just made an asparagus frittata for breakfast! I haven't made an asparagus soup yet this year... good reminder Kate:)
      xo
      E

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  15. It must be cool to have a fellow blogger and friend living near by! I sometimes feel like having those long conversations with someone that would understand hehehe. Beautiful salad, Erin!! xxoo

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    1. Najwa, it's an odd lingo we bloggers speak, eh? It's nice to be understood by a friend;)
      Hope you and your cute family are well!
      xo
      E

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  16. I think it's about time some pencil-thin asparagus shows up at my grocery store ...even if we just had a snowfall yesterday. Everything looks so fresh and lovely, I think it's wishing my everlasting winter away! Very cool that you were able to reconnect over your blogs, it's always great to be able to see someone in a new light.

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    1. You guys are still buried in snow aren't you? Maybe you need to take a little trip to Cali for some asparagus;)?
      xoxo
      E

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    2. That is so TEMPTING! xoxo

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  17. Such a sweet story of your blogmance! I love how this recipe stuck with you with such fond memories even though it had escaped her mind. The really good ones do that :)

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    1. "Blogmance" hehe;)
      Yes, those good recipes really stick. This one definitely is worth remembering.
      xoxo
      E

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  18. Oh, how I can't wait for fresh asparagus here...and I love the story of your friendship. That's been one of the best things of this whole blogging business - meeting the kindred spirits along the way :)

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    1. So true Renee. We have such an amazing community... I'm grateful for all of you!
      xoxo
      E

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  19. How much vinegar goes in the dressing? I always end up putting in too much if I don't have an exact measurement to work with...

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    1. Phoebe, 1 teaspoon should be good. I just updated the recipe for ya.
      Enjoy!
      xo
      E

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  20. Oh man I am making this for the Basketball gourmet teen boys tonight! How lucky we all are that you two hot tickets started sharing your collective amazingness with all of us at the same time! Can't wait to whip this up....xox Shawn

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    1. Shawn! I always love hearing from you. You are going to LOVE Phyllis's salad... hmmm I think I might need to make another batch tonight too.

      I hope you're well. Speaking of awesomeness... last week, I gave one of your bags as a gift to my NY aunt and she went crazy for it!! She's tough to please, with more fabulous bags than most could imagine, but yours is her new favorite:)

      xoxo
      E

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  21. AnonymousMay 04, 2014

    Douglas and I eat this last night. SOOOOOO Yummmy!

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    1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed!

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  22. This looks amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

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  23. That looks so fresh, crunchy and delicious. Asparagus just into the shops here now so will remember this!

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  24. Yay asparagus season!!

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  25. I have just found your beautiful blog through My Darling Lemon Thyme, it was early Sunday morning and I couldn't stop scrolling through. I am new to blogging, but not to growing, cooking and eating my own food. I'm looking forward to trying some of your lovely recipes, beautifully written and photographed.

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    1. Hi Bernadette, thanks for leaving such a sweet note.... "growing, cooking and eating your own food"... the greatest of pleasures!

      xoxo
      E

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  26. Ok, I'm making this for lunch. Is taking fennel from the Edible Schoolyard stealing?

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    1. Whitney, sadly I think it's stealing;) You're probably safer walking down the street to Monterey Market.
      Have a great weekend!
      xoxo
      E

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  27. Aren't blog friends great? It's so nice to talk to someone who "gets" this funny business of ours. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my local blog pal tomorrow. I love this space of yours as well a Dash and Bella, so it's so great to hear that you two are real-life friends!

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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