Here in Maine, asparagus is one of the most highly anticipated vegetables each and every spring. Emerging from the soil around mid-May, these snappy green stalks make their way into our meals in a variety of ways. Most will roast or broil and while they are so delicious, I enjoy leaving them in their raw state from time to time. Thinly sliced, crisp-textured, and delicately flavored, they pair well with the sweet shrimp and salty olives.
Unfortunately, the Maine shrimp industry has plummeted in the past several years, leading to the closing of the fishery. For now, we rely on our neighbors to the north to provide us with these tiny, but delicious shellfish.
Shaved Asparagus w/ Shrimp & Black Olive Vinaigrette
For the Vinaigrette:
- 4 ounces Maine shrimp, peeled, heads removed
- 6 salt-cured olives, pitted, minced
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- pinch of sea salt
For the Salad:
- 1 bunch asparagus (look for thicker spears)
- 2 large sprig of fresh thyme, leaves pulled away from the stalk.
- Combine the lemon, sea salt, and olive oil. Whisk gently then add the chopped olives and shrimp.
- Allow the shrimp to marinated for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove the tough lower end of the asparagus by gently bending and allowing it to snap naturally. Compost the ends then use a peeler to thinly shave the asparagus from top to bottom. Continue the same process with all the asparagus then toss in a bowl, separating the layers as you go.
- Toss the vinaigrette with the asparagus, taste and adjust the seasonings. Allow the salad to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.