Today I want to share a delicious salad Rick and I had a couple weeks ago. In Spanish it’s called espárragos con dos salsas, or asparagus with two sauces. It’s perfect for an opening course or as a standalone salad for lunch. We’ve seen the white asparagus served many times. It’s really popular here, as is the garlicky alioli (aioli). The salsa of red peppers, onions and gherkins was incredibly fresh tasting and a delicious accompaniment to the asparagus.
Asparagus is a Spring vegetable, but the white kind– created by mounding dirt around the emerging shoots until harvest– is especially prized here and available in cans and jars so the tenderness is available year round.
Alioli is the Spanish version of aioli, a garlicky mayonnaise that’s easy to prepare at home, but if you look, you might find it in the condiment aisle. Try this recipe which uses egg yolks, or follow this video which uses a whole egg. If making fresh mayo makes you uncomfortable because of the raw eggs, you can mimic it by crushing garlic and mixing it with your favorite store bought mayo or veganaise. I’ve made it fresh for this post but usually I’ll mix garlic into mayonnaise with a little lemon juice. I prefer the texture and feel better about storing the leftovers (and Rick won’t eat the fresh stuff).
Even though the white asparagus is the star of the plate, the salsa of red pepper, onions and gherkins steals the show in my opinion. This salsa is made with half a red pepper along with an equal amount of diced onion and sweet pickle seasoned with a little salt and pepper and a splash of the pickle juice. To serve, arrange the white asparagus on a platter with the two sauces.
This plate would be a delicious and festive first course for a holiday meal. It’s simple to prepare with only a little chopping and blending if you choose to make your own alioli. This is a Meatless Monday post (read more about it by clicking the badge in the upper lefthand corner), but if you have any leftover salsas, they both are excellent with fish.