ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH WALNUT VINAIGRETTE
30 spears fresh asparagus
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons fruit flavored or red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons corn oil
5 tablespoons walnut oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup freshly shelled walnuts
1 head Boston lettuce or a dozen sprigs watercress
Rinse and cut woody ends from asparagus. Peal tough outer layers. Trim the tough outer layers. Steam spears five to seven minutes, until they are just tender.
Rub the inside of a shallow dish to hold asparagus and a jar for dressing with a half-clove garlic. Combine the vinegar, oils, and salt in the jar, cover, and shake it vigorously. Taste the vinaigrette and adjust ingredients as needed to balance the oil and vinegar.
Rub the freshly cooked asparagus in towelling to remove excess water. Place them in the dish and pour on the vinaigrette. Roll the spears in the dressing to coat them thoroughly and let them cool to room temperature, turning them occasionally.
Serve the asparagus spears, five to a plate, garnished with a lettuce leaf or cress. Spoon the vinaigrette over them and scatter the walnut pieces over the stalks.
Yield: 6 servings