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Spring Panzanella with Asparagus
© Paul Costello

Spring Panzanella with Asparagus

  • TOTAL TIME: 45 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
  • FAST
  • VEGETARIAN

Recipes for panzanella (a Florentine bread salad popular in the summer) typically call for tomatoes, but in the spring, Mike Lata prefers using seasonal ingredients like asparagus and radishes.

  1. 4 large eggs
  2. Four thin slices of peasant bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  3. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  4. 2 pounds fat asparagus, peeled
  5. 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  6. Salt
  7. Freshly ground pepper
  8. 2 cups packed young mustard greens or chicory
  9. 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  10. 1/4 pound ricotta salata, thinly sliced and crumbled
  11. 1 watermelon radish or 2 large red radishes, very thinly sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the eggs in a saucepan of water and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Simmer for 6 minutes. Drain the saucepan and fill it with cold water. Crack the eggs all over and let stand in the water for 1 minute. Peel and thickly slice the eggs; the yolks will be barely cooked but not runny.
  2. Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool and cut the asparagus in half lengthwise.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of oil with the vinegar; season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus, toasted bread, greens, onion and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Garnish with the eggs and radish and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Spring vegetables like artichokes and asparagus can be tricky to pair with because they can make wine taste oddly sweet or even metallic. One wine that works is a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc.