This is a great spring salad with two long lovely green vegetables that have a real affinity for each other. It is delicious as an antipasto or a first course, or as a side dish to grilled meat and fish. You can serve this salad chilled, but I like it at room temperature. If you haven’t poached scallions before, be sure to note how nicely it brings out the flavors in a mellow way. And here’s a thrifty cooking tip: scallion trimmings are some of the most useful scraps in the kitchen. A handful of leaves and the root ends can make an instant broth, as a substitute for stock.
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
- 3/4 pound scallions
- 1 teaspoons salt or more if needed
- 3-1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3 hard cooked eggs, peeled
Cooking the Vegetables
With a vegetable peeler, shave off the skin from the bottom 3 inches or so of each stalk, so they cook evenly. Snap off the hard stubs at the bottom of the asparagus stalks—they’ll break naturally at the right point.
Trim the root end of the scallions and the wilted ends of the green leaves. Peel off the loose layers at the white end, too, so the scallions are all tight, trim, and about 6-inches long.
In a wide deep skillet bring one quart of water (or enough to cover the vegetables) to a boil and add the asparagus and scallions.
Adjust the heat to maintain a bubbling boil and poach the asparagus, uncovered, for about 6 minutes, or more, until they are tender but not falling apart and cooked through but not mushy. To check doneness, pick up a spear in the middle with tongs: it should be a little droopy, but not collapsing.
As soon as they are done, lift out the vegetables with tongs and lay them in a colander (any fat asparagus spears may take a little longer so leave them in a few minutes more). Hold the colander under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain briefly, then spread on kitchen towels and pat dry, and sprinkle with about ½ teaspoon salt over them.
Making the Salad
Slice the asparagus and the scallions into 1-inch lengths and pile them loosely in a mixing bowl. Drizzle over the oil and vinegar over, sprinkle on ½ of the teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss well but don’t break up the vegetables. Quarter the eggs into wedges and slice each wedge into 2 or 3 pieces; scatter these in the bowl and fold in with the vegetables. Taste and adjust the dressing. Chill the salad briefly, then arrange it on a serving platter or on salad plates.