It’s been a long winter here and it’s not over quite yet (still a foot or so of snow on the ground in these parts). There comes a point though when I need a little Spring on my plate, if nowhere else :) With asparagus coming in to the markets at decent prices now, this easy carrot and asparagus salad fit the bill perfectly.
An easy and elegant salad of shaved carrots and asparagus, that offers up some great flavours with hazelnuts, herbs and Parmesan cheese.
This salad uses roasted hazelnut oil – an oil I haven’t had any experience with, but was game to try. (Roasted Hazelnut Oil is easily available in Canada as a President’s Choice Black Label product – in with the other oils for about $6). If you can’t find hazelnut oil, any neutral oil can be substituted. I will say, the hazelnut oil added a lovely flavour to this salad – nutty and just a little different from the usual. I really liked it!
Shaving carrots is a breeze, but shaving asparagus is not quite as easy. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a habit of snapping the asparagus in half when trying to shave it. I found it easiest to lay the asparagus flat on a cutting board and shaving (gently) away from myself.
A word about tarragon. Tarragon is an herb which I just love, but it’s a powerful herb and a flavour that I suspect isn’t universally loved. If you’re not a tarragon lover or you’re feeding others who you fear may not enjoy it, you can substitute another herb, such as parsley. I definitely recommend the chives though, as they add nice flavour with the vegetables.
- 2 Tbsp. roasted hazelnut oil
- 2 Tbsp. neutral oil (such as vegetable)
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- For the salad:
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 4-6 young carrots, peeled
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
- 1 oz. shaved Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside to allow the flavours to blend. (*Can be made ahead and refrigerated).
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread hazelnuts on to a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until darkened and fragrant. Place nuts on to a clean kitchen towel. Gather the towel over the nuts and rub the hazelnuts against each other to loosen the skins. Remove nuts to a cutting board, leaving the skins behind, and roughly chop.
- Using a vegetable peeler, shave both the asparagus and the carrots into long, thin strips. (*I found it easiest to shave asparagus by placing flat on a cutting board). Place in a large bowl. Add hazelnuts and cheese. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss to combine, adding more dressing as necessary to moisten.
Adapted from Food and Drink magazine Spring 2015