For us here in Quebec (and many other parts of the northern hemisphere), asparagus season is here. There are few things more exciting to me than the table of long, thin and wild-looking asparagus that pops up at the farmer’s market every spring. It looks a little odd compared to the thick and uniform asparagus we see the rest of the year, but more than anything it means the sweetest and brightest tasting green vegetable you can imagine.
I wanted to show case the special nature of local asparagus, picked the morning you bought it and that meant one thing – raw! If you don’t have access to local asparagus, you can totally blanch and ice bath these babies up, but the fresher, the better here.
Serves 2, as a side
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, tips preserved and sliced thin
20 French tarragon leaves, pulled off stems
10 mint leaves, chiffonaded to the same size as the tarragon (is chiffonade a verb?)
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Small handful of raspberries
Snap off the ends of the asparagus. Cut the tips off, leaving them whole. Slice the stems thinly, on a bias, if you like. Toss together with the tarragon and mint. Whisk the lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil together until it changes colour slightly and becomes a little creamy looking. Lightly dress salad, tasting after every spoonful, so as to ensure you do not overdress. Salt and pepper, if you feel it is needed (I did not). Top with raspberries.