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A springtime salad showstopper

041019TasteFood

Asparagus Prosciutto Salad

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Have you been tasked with bringing a springtime platter of food to feed a crowd for brunch later this month? I make a version of this sunny salad for Easter brunch every year. It's a lovely way to show off the season's new asparagus, while ticking the boxes for fresh, gluten-free and crowd-pleasing, with a visual wow-factor worthy of a buffet spread.

The garnishes make all of the difference in this salad. Oven-crisped prosciutto yields satisfyingly crunchy, salty shards to the al dente asparagus, and a topping of egg mimosa not only symbolizes spring, it's pretty darn colorful.

Wait, Mimosa, you ask? No, I am not talking about the sparkly champagne brunch cocktail (although that would make a mighty fine accompaniment to this salad). Mimosa is a French culinary term that refers to finely grated or sieved hard-cooked eggs, which are dusted over salads and vegetables or used as the key ingredient in deviled eggs.

You might understand why the eloquent-minded French would select the term "mimosa" for such a preparation. Not only is it wonderfully poetic and mellifluous to say, it's also apt in description: The crumbled canary yellow yolk of the egg resembles the brilliant mimosa flower, which blooms early in the spring.

The whole salad is napped together with a bright and lemony vinaigrette and finished with delicate spring herbs, such as tarragon and chervil. If you are looking for a springtime salad statement, this is your salad.

** ** **

Roasted Asparagus Salad With Crispy Prosciutto and Egg Mimosa

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

1 pound asparagus (medium thickness), ends trimmed

1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces prosciutto

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

4 ounces mixed spring greens (such as arugula, mizuna, spinach)

2 hard-cooked eggs

1/4 cup fresh tarragon or chervil, chopped

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper, and turn to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast until the asparagus are bright green and crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the stalks. Remove and transfer the asparagus to a plate to cool. Do not turn off the oven.

While the asparagus cool, arrange the prosciutto in one layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to the oven and bake until the prosciutto is shriveled and firm to the touch, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature (the prosciutto will continue to harden as it cools). Break the slices into shards.

Whisk the 1/3 cup oil, the lemon juice, champagne vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.

Spread the greens on a serving platter or in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Arrange the asparagus in the center of the greens. Drizzle the dressing around the asparagus. Grate the eggs over the asparagus, and then sprinkle the prosciutto shards and the tarragon over the entire salad. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Lynda Balslev is an award-winning cookbook author, recipe developer, tester and editor. Taste Food is distributed by Andrews McMeel Syndication.

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