Roasted Asparagus with Arugula and Shallot Vinaigrette

Asparagus: It's What's for Dinner

Last week, I had the great opportunity to meet the celebrated food writer Patricia Wells at a private event sponsored by the St. Louis Culinary Society. She was in town promoting her new cookbook, Vegetable Harvest. She talked about her experience writing, testing and photographing all the recipes for the book and her absolute reverence for pure, fresh food came through bright and clear. How many people notice the "beautiful purple striations" in a shallot? I like her even more.

I’ve always been a fan of her simple, rustic cooking. I wore out my copy of Bistro Cooking when I was first teaching myself to cook, and still make a variation of her Sautéed Chicken with Shallots. My other favorites are the five flavored (chocolate, honey, lemon, pistachio and hazelnut) madeleine recipes in her book, Simply French. Luckily, these were two titles I didn’t lose in the flood.

And who could help envying her lifestyle? She lives in Provence in an old restored farmhouse, surrounded by olive trees, vineyards and lush vegetable gardens. No wonder this book inspires me! The recipes are all uncomplicated and full of the Mediterranean flavors I crave.

I went straight home and made this recipe from the book – just add a serving of grilled chicken or salmon and some crusty bread. Call it dinner.

Roasted Asparagus with Arugula and Shallot Vinaigrette

Adapted from Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells
Four servings

1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed
Shallot Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Coarse sea salt
6 cups prewashed baby arugula
2 finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (use a vegetable peeler)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss asparagus on a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the shallot vinaigrette and season with salt. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons water over asparagus.
Roast asparagus until slightly brown at the tips and slightly firm, about 12 minutes.
Toss arugula and green onions in a large bowl with remaining vinaigrette. Arrange on a serving platter and top with asparagus. Scatter the cheese over the top.

Shallot Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Pinch salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a small jar with a lid. Cover and shake until creamy and emulsified.
Can be refrigerated up to one day ahead.

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Ronnie said...

Tell me more about the St. Louis Culinary Society. My son is a sophmore at Wash U. and I am an alum. Tell me more, please!

Kalyn said...

I just bought that cookbook from The Good Cook but didn't get it yet. Can't wait. This looks great.

Holler said...

Hi Karen,
Happy Vegetarian Week (well in the Uk anyway)! I linked to your Roasted Asparagus with Argula and Shallot Vinaigrette as I thought it would be a good addition as a starter! Hope you don't mind!

Susan said...

I make almost this exact recipe but with green beans instead of asparagus. Now, I'll be making it with asparagus next!

How exciting that you met Patricia Wells!

Kristen said...

This looks so good!

Lisa said...

Ooh, lucky you! Sounds like such a fun event. And that asparagus is perfect. All of those items, the shallots, asparagi, and arugula should be at my market this week, too...

Bruno said...

Hi Karen,

I love asparagus... this recipe sounds great!

Squishy said...

We call Arugula (Rocket) here in Australia. Looks delicious :)

Karen said...

Ronnie, I'm glad to hear you're a foodie family. I'll drop you an email.

Kalyn, I think you're going to love the book, especially because you cook straight from your garden.

Holler, thanks for the link! Happy Vegetarian Week to you!

Susan, I love green beans too. Could be a great mixture for this recipe!

Kristen, thanks!

Lisa, I hope you made it to the market. I've yet to see the local asparagus, although I know it's here. I've heard this season is slow going because of our late frost.

Karen said...

Bruno, thanks!

Squishy, I think "rocket" is such a great word for it. I bet my son would eat it if I called it that!