This salad is a tribute to Carmellini’s former boss, Gray Kunz. The combo of makrut 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 RecipesRecipe from Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook 


Credit: © Chris Court

Recipe Summary test

45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a mini processor, combine the egg yolk with the curry powder, lime zest, makrut 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 makrut-curry sauce onto plates, top with the asparagus salad and serve.

Make Ahead

The makrut-curry sauce can be refrigerated overnight.


Makrut lime leaves are the fragrant leaves of makrut 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

Suggested Pairing

Fruity, minerally northern Italian white.