April and May are packed with birthdays. One after another I celebrate with my closest friends and family, drinking bubbly and eating good food. It’s a tough job. But, someone’s got to do it.
During a recent dinner at Barbuto – where we chowed down on prosciutto and olives, gnocchi with spring vegetables, roast chicken and crispy potatoes, and a truly delectable cheese cake with a homemade graham cracker crust – I enjoyed a salad I knew I wanted to share with you. In this salad, ribbons of shaved, raw asparagus and carrot were interlaced with bright notes of mint and the sweet perfume of toasted pecans. Dressed with nothing more than olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, I jotted down the ingredients in preparation for my next trip to the Greenmarket.
At home, I carefully shaved asparagus spears and carrots on my mandoline. Into the bowl they went. I sliced a handful of mint leaves into a delicate chiffonade, and into the bowl that went. A drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon of white wine vinegar lightly coated the bright mess as it awaited the warm, toasted pecans. Once added, the heat of the pecans drew out the flavors of each ingredient, bringing everything together into a salad that felt just right.
Shaved Asparagus and Carrots with Mint and Toasted Pecans (inspired by Barbuto)
1 medium carrot, peeled and ends removed
8 asparagus stalks, tough ends removed
2 tsp fresh mint, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pecans
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp White wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 350º. In a small baking pan, toast the pecans for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant.
Meanwhile, using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, thinly shave equal amounts of carrots and asparagus into ribbons. Toss with mint, olive oil, and vinegar. Add the warm pecans and mix. Salt and pepper to taste.
Note: The serving size is for one to two people, but can easily be increased.