AMANIDA AMB ESPARREC I PERNIL (Catalan asparagus salad with almonds and serrano ham, for six)
2 pounds thin asparagus, trimmed and peeled
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped blanched almonds
2 tablespoons coarse dry bread crumbs
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
1 medium head escarole, cut into ¼ inch thick strips (6 cups)
½ pound sliced Serrano ham or proscuitto
- Have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. Cook asparagus in boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain spears, then refresh in ice water. Drain asparagus again and pat dry.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook almonds, bread crumbs and cumin, stirring frequently, until toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Cool. Add remaining oil to vinegar in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss escarole with half of the dressing. Tear the ham into shreds and toss it with the escarole. Top salad with asparagus and drizzle asparagus with remaining dressing. Sprinkle salad with almond and crumb mixture.
from Gourmet Magazine, March, 2000