Embracing the fresh, crisp flavor of raw asparagus

SARA MOULTON
The Associated Press
Modified: March 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm •  Published: March 26, 2013

photo - In this image taken on March 11, 2013, a raw asparagus, mushroom and parsley salad with nuts is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
In this image taken on March 11, 2013, a raw asparagus, mushroom and parsley salad with nuts is shown in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

In the end, this spring salad — an exciting and satisfying alternative to the basic green salad — is all about simple, good ingredients. And, topped off with grilled shrimp or chicken, you could call it dinner.

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RAW ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOM AND PARSLEY SALAD WITH NUTS AND PARMESAN

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

Kosher Salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound asparagus, tough stems trimmed and discarded (peeled if thicker than 1/3 inch)

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

4 ounces firm white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup pistachios or chopped toasted walnuts

1 ounce shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large bowl, combine a hefty pinch of salt, some black pepper and the lemon juice. Whisk until the salt is dissolved, then add the oil in a stream, whisking. Set aside.

Lay the asparagus flat on a cutting board and slice a few stalks at a time very thin on a diagonal to create thin oblong slices. Add to the salad bowl along with the parsley, mushrooms and pistachios or walnuts. Toss well to coat with the dressing. Divide the salad among 4 serving plates and top each portion with some of the cheese.

Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories; 120 calories from fat (75 percent of total calories); 14 g fat (2.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 7 g protein; 260 mg sodium.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Sara Moulton was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years, and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows. She currently stars in public television's "Sara's Weeknight Meals" and has written three cookbooks, including "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners."