This salad is a tribute to Carmellini’s former boss, Gray Kunz. The combo of kaffir lime leaf and curry powder in the sauce is “classic Kunz circa the mid-’90s,” when they cooked together at Lespinasse in Manhattan. The tangy sauce is also terrific with soft-shell crabs or steamed white fish.
Slideshow:More Salad Recipes
Recipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
1 fresh kaffir lime leaf, minced (see Note)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/4 cups grapeseed or vegetable oil
2 pounds asparagus
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 Fresno chile or jalapeño—halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup lightly packed torn Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup lightly packed torn mint leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
How to Make It
In a mini processor, combine the egg yolk with the curry powder, lime zest, kaffir lime leaf, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice and 1 teaspoon of the ginger and puree until nearly smooth. With the machine on, gradually add 1 cup of the oil in a very thin stream until emulsified. Season the kaffir-curry sauce with salt and cayenne and scrape into a bowl.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the asparagus until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to the ice bath to cool, then drain well and blot dry.
In another large bowl, whisk the remaining 3 tablespoons of lime juice with the fish sauce, garlic, Thai chile, sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and season lightly with salt. Add the asparagus, Fresno chile, basil, mint and peanuts and toss well. Season the asparagus salad with salt.
Dollop some of the kaffir-curry sauce onto plates, top with the asparagus salad and serve.
The kaffir-curry sauce can be refrigerated overnight.
Kaffir lime leaves are the fragrant leaves of kaffir limes, a fruit native to Indonesia, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. They are available at Southeast Asian and some Asian markets and online at importfood.com.
Fruity, minerally northern Italian white.
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