Fresh Asparagus Salad

This salad can be eaten hot or cold. For a more dramatic presentation, you can use half green asparagus and half white, which, while more tender, is a bit less flavorful – and more expensive.

If you don’t like black olives, omit the black olive paste.

Serves 6.

3 bunches asparagus, trimmed, and if thick, peeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon or orange juice
1 tablespoon black olive paste
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 shallot, minced

1. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the asparagus and cook until it is bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, place in the ice water and drain again. Transfer to a large shallow serving bowl and add the oil, lemon juice, olive paste, salt, pepper, and shallot. Toss lightly. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)