Asparagus Salad with Avocado and Almonds

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

An early summer salad you can make in a matter of minutes

As the tail end of asparagus season hangs on, I had the thought to put together this lovely little salad the other evening. As is my end-of-the-workday wont, it can be done quickly if you have everything on hand. It fits well with what Rolando Beramendi says in Autentico: Cooking Italian, the Authentic Way:

I cook food in its most authentic form. I cook to break preconceived notions of what food should be—no overcrowded plates, no recipes with too many disparate ingredients, no out-of-season ingredients, no need for a lot of equipment. I make no-fuss food for my guests and myself that nourishes both our hearts and our stomachs.

To make the salad, take a half a ripe avocado out of its rind, and cut it into large cubes. Cut half a dozen spears of roasted asparagus into one-inch pieces and drop them gently over the avocado. Toss on a small handful of toasted chopped almonds. I like the Catalan Marcona almonds we have at the Deli. Squeeze on a bit of fresh lime juice (lemon will work well, too), add some fine sea salt and a good bit of really good, freshly ground Zingerman’s 5 Star black pepper and a really good olive oil. The organic Petraia oil we have right now from Elia Pellegrino and his family in Puglia would probably be a great pairing.

If you want to add some more “A’s” to this asparagus salad, the dish is also very good with a few really nice anchovies laid on top, and/or, also, with a bed of fresh arugula underneath! You can also include some chopped fresh herbs—I’m inclined towards tarragon or mint. Or sprinkle with some spices if you like—or a bit of Za’atar, Sumac or the Wild Uzbek Cumin. Serve with a nice chunk of Bakehouse bread—the Better Than San Francisco Sourdough is on special this month and its lively tang would be a good counterbalance to the richness of the salad. Maybe better still, I like the idea of pairing the salad with a thick hand cut slice of the Chernushka Rye—the peppery earthiness of the chernushka (nigella) seeds would be wonderful with salad.