Shreds of Evidence

Signs of springtime become more prominent with every passing day.  As the soil warms and sunshine returns, asparagus emerges and returns to our plates.  Sure, it’s available throughout the warmer months (and frozen, year-round), but it’s only at peak, fresh and perfect, now, in spring’s all-too-brief interval between ice and sizzle.  That’s what this journal is all about, isn’t it, utilizing ingredients at their best?

Today’s meal celebrates this excellence, in bringing us Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette, as realized in Bon Appetit‘s 2012 recipe collection.  After subsisting on root crops and on the freezer shelf since last fall, it’s so nice to have fresh vegetables once again!

To that point, here are a few of the asparagus spears that went into today’s salad:Asparagus

Either variety, white or green, looks wonderful, especially after winter’s snows. does it not?  Good enough to eat, and that’s precisely what we intend to do.

The vegetable peeler yields shreds of fresh asparagus, which are tossed with Parmesan cheese, olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  The tips are added, along with traces of salt and pepper.  That’s it.  The resulting salad is a little tangy, a little buttery and a little salty.  Above all, though, it’s fresh.  Overwhelmingly fresh.  That’s the asparagus talking.

In spring, few items share asparagus’s plate as perfectly as does lamb. When Bon Appetit (yes, them again) featured Spiced Marinated Lamb Chops in its January 2016 issue, asparagus salad had a side dish.  Before cooking, the lamb chops marinate in a yogurt-based blend of turmeric, grated garlic, lemon juice and other spices.  Then they’re pan-seared, which develops the flavors while keeping the chops juicy and tender.

Just as lamb is a perfect companion for asparagus, the yogurt dipping sauce is made (literally and figuratively) for the chops.  Actually, it’s the yogurt-lemon-garlic mixture that went into the marinade, but a small amount, as seen above, is spirited away and is refrigerated before the other spices are added to create the marinade.  In the end, this amplifies the lamb’s flavor and deepens it nicely.

All in all, we have much more than a shred of evidence spring is here.  Exhibit A is overwhelming and undeniable.  The lamb, the asparagus… it all adds up to more than mere shreds.  Spring has stirred the land from its slumber.  I rest my case, Your Honor.


Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette

  • 12 large asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup finely-grated Parmesan
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  •  salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste

Working with one asparagus spear at a time, use a vegetable peeler to shave the spears into long thin shavings.  The tips will snap off as the spears get thinner.  Transfer these along with the asparagus shreds into a medium bowl.

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and grated Parmesan.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well-blended.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

Add the dressing to the asparagus and toss well.  Divide into individual servings and plate.


Spiced Marinated Lamb Chops with Garlicky Yogurt

  • 1 and 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds lamb chops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Combine yogurt, lemon juice and garlic in a medium bowl, and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer 1/2 cup of the yogurt mixture to a serving bowl.  Cover and refrigerate if you intend to let the lamb chops marinate for a while.  If not, merely set aside the yogurt mixture.

To the remaining yogurt mixture (i.e., that which you’ll use as the marinade) add the cumin, coriander, turmeric and allspice. Stir well.

Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper.  Using your hands, coat all sides of the chop with marinade, avoiding the bone.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. (*1)

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  Wipe excess marinade from the chops and cook half, about 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.  Pour excess liquid from the skillet (no need to wipe it out) and add the remaining tablespoon of oil.  Cook the second set of chops as you did the first.

Serve the chops alongside the yogurt mixture you reserved earlier.


1 – If you’re not in a hurry, the longer marinating time definitely is superior, as it allows the flavors to develop more fully.







3 thoughts on “Shreds of Evidence

    1. Much appreciated, Tamara!

      I thought we had the evidence Your Honor, but we’re going to need more proof. This going to take decades and decades more investigation, covering dozens and dozens of asparagus seasons.

      For now, I recommend releasing the defendant on bail. Straight to my dinner plate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hear, hear… and no need to take off the handcuffs. I’ve learned a thing, or two, about smashing my face into foods I find to my particular liking. No utensils needed.

        Liked by 1 person

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