Chef Champe Speidel's Warm Asparagus Salad

Chef Champe Speidel is the chef-owner of Persimmon in Providence, RI. Speidel — a six-time semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Northeast — takes an ingredient- and technique-driven approach to modern American cuisine.  After a successful eleven-year run in Bristol, RI, Speidel and his wife, Lisa, relocated to Providence and reimagined their concept to open the “new Persimmon” in May 2016. 

Chef Speidel will be on the Farm this summer, on the evening of June 13, to collaboratively create a dinner with Inn Executive Chef Jim McCarthy. As a guest, you’ll begin the evening on the North Porch tasting passed hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine.  Back inside, your five-course meal will feature our Market Garden’s early summer produce paired with rosé from various regions. Reserve you seat here; it will surely be a meal to remember!

Chef Speidel shares his recipe for a Warm Asparagus Salad — a perfect introduction to his style and attention to detail. 

Warm Salad of Green and White Asparagus

Serves 4 as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 28 spears of green asparagus, peeled and rinsed of any sand
  • 16 spears of white asparagus, peeled and rinsed of any sand
  • 3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of toasted bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of cured egg yolk, grated (recipe to follow or this step can be omitted)
  • 1 ounce of mixed herbs: chervil, tarragon, chive tips, celery leaves
  • For the cured egg yolk:
  • 6 egg yolks, save the whites for another use
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup salt

For the bread crumbs

  • 3-4 slices of day-old bread or ends and pieces
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt to taste

 

Directions

1. To cure the yolks, mix the sugar and salt together in a bowl. In a non-reactive tray pour half the salt/sugar mix in the tray. Create six indents on the mixture to hold an egg yolk. Place the yolks carefully into the indentations and sprinkle the remainder of the salt/sugar on top. Place the tray in the refrigerator in a safe place so that it won’t be disturbed. Allow the yolks to cure for at least 5 days. They will become firm and dry. To use, rinse the salt and sugar off in running water and dry on a paper towel. Use a micro plane or other type of grater to shave the yolks like cheese.

2. To make the breadcrumbs, preheat an oven to 350°. Lay the bread slices on a sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil to fully coat. Sprinkle the salt on the slices and place into the oven. Set a timer for 5 minute intervals so you can monitor the progress. The bread is done when it is golden brown and firm to the touch (total cooking time differ, but 10-15 minutes is reasonable). Allow the bread to cool before processing into crumbs. Use a food processor or a mallet to create the crumbs.

3. To prepare the asparagus, in a large pot of boiling, salted water (1/2 cup to each gallon of water), blanch the asparagus, in batches if necessary, by dropping them in the pot for about 1 minute and then removing them with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to immediately stop the cooking process. This allows you to cook the asparagus ahead of time so the salad can be assembled close to serving time. If serving the salad immediately you don’t have to shock the asparagus in ice water.

4. To complete the salad, if the asparagus had been shocked in ice water, rewarm them by either placing in a 350° oven for a few minutes to warm or in a skillet with a tablespoon of water. On medium high heat let the water warm the asparagus without browning them. Once the water evaporates the asparagus are done. Place the asparagus In a large mixing bowl and add the salt and pepper to taste, extra virgin olive oil, bread crumbs and lemon juice. Arrange attractively on a plate then shave the cure egg yolks and Parmesan cheese over the top. Toss the herb mix in the same bowl used to dress the asparagus just to lightly coat. Sprinkle the herbs atop the asparagus and serve immediately.

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