How in God's name is it already the middle of May? Feels like I got married yesterday and the beginning of 2015 was a week before that. I'm not exactly complaining. While I'd love nothing more than to go back to my wedding day, I'm really looking forward to the dog days of summer. Truth be told though, Los Angeles has been experiencing a lot of "May Gray" lately and I'm just here wishin' and a hopin' that we don't catch another case of "June Gloom" this year. That's right. It's not always sunny in SoCal. Dreams crushed, I know.
But regardless, I'll still enjoy my summer. Even with a new job starting, there's something about summertime that just feels more relaxing and fun. Weekend barbecues, trips to the beach, and picnic dates in the park...it's all pretty appealing if you ask me. Oh, and I must mention this summer also includes a Hawaiian honeymoon, 4th of July "staycation" with my best friend's much anticipated visit, and a long weekend getaway in Chicago. So yeah, I think I'll fare pretty well over the next few months.
The summer fun begins with next weekend's Memorial Day festivities. I'm looking forward to a long bike ride down to Manhattan Beach, a cool charitable event in Venice, and a pot luck shindig in my 'hood. But what in the world is a girl to make who's determined to keep her wedding day figure? A salad of course. Don't judge. This salad is fit for a crowd of foodies.
Arugula comes dressed with a lemony pesto vinaigrette and topped with shaved and marinated purple and green asparagus along with quick-fried prosciutto and parmesan shavings. It's pretty to look at and even better to taste. Lots of crunch and tons of diverse flavor, this salad also takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, from start to finish. Big thanks to Frieda's for the beautiful purple asparagus. Super tender and fresh, it also added a nice pop of color to the mixture.
So there you go. Memorial Day Barbecue contribution solved. It won't sacrifice that beach body and won't take a labor of love to prepare.
Shaved Asparagus, Arugula, & Prosciutto Salad With Lemon-Pesto Vinaigrette
1 pound Asparagus (I used a combo of purple & green)
6-8 ounces baby arugula
4-6 ounces prosciutto
1/4 cup shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano
For the Dressing:
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Juice and zest from one lemon
1. Prepare the dressing. To a food processor, add all of the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Pulse until combined. Then, slowly pour in the olive oil, pulsing until dressing is thin. If you need to add more liquid, add lemon juice or olive oil until it has reached desired consistency.
2. Shave the asparagus. Using a vegetable peeler, peel lengthwise into strips (leaving the asparagus tips whole). You can snap off the tips or leave them on. If it becomes difficult to peel the asparagus after the first couple strips, place lengthwise on the handle of a long wooden spoon and begin peeling again. This will allow the peeler enough room from to do its job. Place the shaved asparagus in a bowl, add half of the dressing, and toss. Set aside.
3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a pan on high heat. Tear prosciutto into pieces and add to pan. Cook for about 30 seconds, turning once, until prosciutto has crisped up just a bit. Don't over fry it as it'll reduce down to nothing. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel.
4. Add arugula to mixing bowl with the other half of the dressing. Toss well. Then, add the arugula to a serving platter. Create a well in the middle and add the shaved asparagus to it. Then, top with prosciutto pieces and shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano. I use the vegetable peeler to create large shavings.
***Serves 6-8 people as a small-large side salad.