Asparagus-Cashew Salad in Romaine Cups

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If you'd like, you can eat this salad with both fingers and forks. The long, trough-shaped Romaine leaves hold neatly cup dressing and nuts. Asparagus were always finger food. Their aphrodisiac qualities are obvious. Prepare all the ingredients ahead of time. Dress the salad just before eating.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound pencil-slim asparagus, tough bases of their stalks trimmed away
  • A large skillet filled with boiling salted water

For dressing and salad:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons wine or cider vinegar
  • 2 generous tablespoons coarse mustard
  • About 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • About 10 medium-sized pale green inner leaves of Romaine lettuce
  • Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped salted cashews
Instructions
 
1. Wash asparagus in a sinkful of cold water. Bring salted water to a boil, slip in asparagus and simmer about 2 minutes, or until a stalk resists being pierced with knife, but isn't hard. Very gently turn into a colander. Rinse under cold running water to stop cooking and set the bright green color. Set aside.
 
2. Beat together dressing ingredients in a bowl and taste for seasoning. Wash and thoroughly dry the Romaine.
 
3. To serve, take a little of the dressing a moisten the asparagus with it. Toss the rest with the Romaine leaves. Heap them on 2 salad plates, top with the asparagus and sprinkle with the cashews.
Cook time: 
Yield: 
2 servings
 
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