This is a salad made from a stolen opportunity. Well, maybe not a stolen opportunity so much as just stolen. My neighbor’s little kumquat tree is right on the street, so when we pass by my girl and I tend to take a few to eat. My sister does it too when she walks over to visit. We are a family of fruit thieves.
My neighbor does not eat them, so we are actually doing her a service! We eat the fruit before it just shrivels up and falls from the tree. I see it as a win-win situation. (I can justify anything if I try hard enough)
This Shaved Purple Asparagus Salad with Kumquat Dressing is actually the second time I have used the tartly sweet fruits in a salad dressing. Years ago I posted a recipe for Tangy Kumquat Dressing, which I developed after helping unburden that poor little tree of too many kumquats.
But, the real star of this salad is purple asparagus. I received some gorgeous purple asparagus from Frieda’s Produce to play with, and the color was just stunning. But if you cook purple asparagus it turns green just like the asparagus you always see in the store. So the best way to showcase these beauties is raw.
When eaten raw, purple asparagus is crispy and juicy, with flavor reminiscent of jicama. Not overtly sweet, but with just a hint of sweetness. A flavor that would contrast nicely with the kumquats flavor profile of sour and sweet. And that is where the other main ingredient comes in. Salt cured olives. You do not have to use salt cured olives, but I do want you to use a strongly flavored olive, such as a kalamata.
When preparing the dressing, soak the kumquats halves in the olive oil overnight for the best flavor. The oils in the kumquat skin will perfume the olive oil with a lovely citrus flavor.
- 5-6 kumquats, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound purple asparagus, tough ends removed
- 1/2 cup salt cured black olives, quartered
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Place the kumquats and olive oil into a small bowl.
- Refrigerate the mixture 6 hours to overnight.
- When ready to make the dressing remove the oil from the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature.
- Cut the tips of the asparagus off and set aside.
- Using a vegetable peeler shave the asparagus spears into thin strips.
- Place the asparagus shavings into a bowl of cold water to keep them crisp.
- Remove the kumquat halves from the oil and set aside.
- Add the vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of fleur de sel and red pepper flakes to the oil.
- Whisk the ingredients together until thickened.
- Add the olives and reserved kumquats to the dressing.
- Remove the asparagus from the water and pat dry.
- Place the asparagus on a serving platter.
- Drizzle the dressing over the asparagus.
- Sprinkle with the remaining fleur de sel.
- Serve immediately.
*Fleur de Sel is hand harvested sea salt from France that is used as a finishing salt. You can find it a gourmet stores or online
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