I’m trying to experiment with non-lettuce based salads. I started with this cilantro and asparagus salad. Overall, it was pretty good, but it’s a bit time consuming, especially if you don’t make the shallot oil ahead of time. And I need to get my blanching skills under control, I always leave the ice bath in the sink, and it’s in the way when I need to strain the boiling veggies, so the whole thing is always a bit frenzied and I bet I end up overcooking.
1. Good Cilantro
The recipe’s author isn’t kidding about getting good cilantro. I wasn’t sure what she meant until I made this, but cilantro stems can be really tough. Apparently there’s some magical tender stemmed cilantro to be found, and I did not have it. I adapted by finely chopping mine.
2. Shallot Oil
You make this shallot infused sunflower oil as a base for the dressing, and it is delicious. I’d make this again (and maybe explore other infused oils). The recipe suggests sprinkling the crispy fried chopped shallot over the salad, which is also delicious and I bet would be good in all sorts of other things (stir fry, pasta).
The author also mentions making this with red pepper instead of asparagus, but I bet that would be less good if you have to chop your sub-par cilantro like I did.