This salad comes from "Canal House Cooks Every Day." What surprised me about the recipe was both the dressing made from water, grated Pecorino cheese, and olive oil and the absence of lemon, which proves to be unnecessary thanks to the tangy, sharp Pecorino (though a squeeze of lemon wouldn't do any harm). This dressing can be made with Parmigiano Reggiano—I've tried—but for reasons I cannot explain does not emulsify as well as when made with Pecorino. I typically prefer Parmigiano Reggiano, but here I don't.
The dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for at least a week. No need to bring it to room temperature before serving, but give it a good stir before tossing it with the vegetables. Use the vegetables as a guide, too; I have been peeling a dozen or so stalks of asparagus every night, tossing them with a couple tablespoons of the dressing, then finally tossing with arugula. I love serving this salad over pizza dough baked with olive oil and salt, though a simple bruschetta is nice, too. —Alexandra Stafford
4 to 6
1 1/2 cups
(4 3/4 ounces) finely grated Pecorino Romano
For the dressing: Place the cheese in a large bowl. Gradually add 1/2 cup of boiling water, whisking constantly. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Taste. Season with salt and pepper.
For the salad, lay the spears flat on a cutting board and trim off the woody ends with a sharp knife. Using a vegetable peeler and pressing hard, shave each spear into long, thin ribbons. (If necessary, cut the final layer of each stalk into thin strips—it might be thicker than the other ribbons, which is just fine.) Trim off each tip and cut lengthwise in half. Toss the asparagus pieces with several tablespoons of the dressing. Add arugula and toss again. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.