Tender green spears of asparagus are popping up out of the ground all around Oregon! Asparagus can be grilled, steamed or just eaten raw fresh from the garden. With fresh lettuce I bought with the asparagus from the market I wanted to make a quick and simple salad combining the two. Caesar salad came to mind and instead of serving with croutons I made the asparagus the crouton of the salad. In less than 20 minutes you will have a side salad with dinner or a meal all by itself. When buying asparagus look for firm stems, the tips are tight with moist and plump stems.
Asparagus Caesar Salad
12 asparagus spears, washed & ends trimmed off
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons panko crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 head Romaine lettuce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Homemade Caesar dressing, recipe below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 11×7-inch baking dish place the asparagus spears and drizzle with the olive oil. Roll the asparagus in the olive oil to cover. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. In small bowl mix the panko bread crumbs with the butter and sprinkle over the asparagus. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
Cut end off the romaine lettuce and separate the leaves (wash as needed) and lay on 4 plates. If you prefer smaller pieces cut lettuce before placing on plates. Lay cooked asparagus on top and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with the homemade Caesar dressing and serve. Serves 4.
Homemade Caesar Dressing
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons water
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add all ingredients except the olive oil, parmesan cheese, water, and salt and pepper. Process to combine.
While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add the parmesan cheese, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and thin with water to desired consistency.
Keep dressing refrigerated in a sealed container until ready to use. Use within several days of making.