Asparagus, Tomato and Parmesan Salad
Spring and summer spears make juicy flavour packed salads like this one from the wonderful Tania Cusack of My Kitchen Stories who has also incorporated some terrific contrasts in texture. “I love the crunch and the clean wonderful feeling of eating Asparagus and I love how quickly it cooks. What on earth could be better than that Asparagus Tomato and Parmesan Salad with Sage Crumbs!” says Tania.
- 3 bunches asparagus, woody ends removed
- 1 bunch sage, leaves picked off stems
- Salt and pepper
- 250g mixed cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (see Tip)
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 100g parmesan cheese, shaved (see Tip)
- Cut the asparagus spears into 3.
- Chop half of the sage leaves and leave the rest whole.
- Heat a large non-stick pan until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon or a good lug of oil and toss in half the asparagus. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until hot and just seared. (They will keep cooking so only JUST cook them). Transfer to a bowl and continue cooking the remaining asparagus.
- Put another lug of olive oil into the pan and add the tomatoes and whole sage leaves and a sprinkle of salt. Toss over a high heat until the sage leaves are wilted, then add them to the asparagus together with the chives.
- Wipe out the pan, add some more oil and then add the chopped sage leaves, Panko breadcrumbs and some salt and pepper. Move the crumbs around the pan until nicely toasted and then pour into a separate bowl.
- Mix the vinegar with the sugar to dissolve and then add to the salad tossing well before transferring to a plate. Sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan and sage crumbs and serve at once.
- You can eat this salad at room temperature. Try to make the same day you want to eat it, as the asparagus gets softer.
- If you can’t find sage use fresh picked basil. If you use basil leaves there is no need to cook them.
- Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that have a lovely crunchy texture. They are available at Asian grocery stores or the Asian food section of supermarkets.
- For those on a gluten free diet, use rice crumbs (available in health food stores) instead of the Panko breadcrumbs.
- Use the side of your grater to shave the parmesan cheese or buy shaved parmesan.
Recipe by Tania Cusack of My Kitchen Stories.