Reprinted with permission from In My Kitchen by Deborah Madison, copyright © 2017. Photography by Erin Scott. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
- 1 or more pounds thick asparagus
- Olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 handfuls of small arugula leaves, with blossoms, if possible
- 1 large shallot, finely diced
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons interesting vinegar
- 3 1⁄2 tablespoons toasted walnut oil or good olive oil
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
- 4 walnuts, freshly cracked and lightly toasted or left fresh
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Trim and rinse the asparagus, then toss it with olive oil—not too much—and a few pinches of salt and some pepper. Put the asparagus in a large, shallow baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or as long as is needed (a little less for skinny asparagus), until tender, slightly shriveled, and aromatic. Wash the arugula leaves and spin them dry. If they’re large leaves from the garden, break them down so that the stems are short. If they’re very hot and spicy, use just two handfuls, or even a little less. If there are blossoms, set them aside and use them to garnish the salad.
- Put the shallot in a small bowl with the vinegar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Let stand for a few minutes, and then whisk in the walnut oil. Taste the dressing on an arugula leaf and add more vinegar or oil, if needed. Dress the arugula with about half of the dressing. Taste for salt.
- Set the asparagus on a platter or individual plates. Heap the arugula over it. Tuck in the eggs and walnuts here and there. Spoon the remaining dressing over the asparagus, garnish with the flowers if there are any, and serve.