This simple shaved asparagus salad is one of my favorite meals lately – I’ve been making it about once a week and I never seem to get tired of it!
The first time I made this dish, I had actually planned to use the ingredients in a croque madame inspired asparagus tart. However, looking at the delicate spring asparagus, it seemed like a shame to subject them to the long roasting time required by that recipe. I had seen shaved asparagus salads before and figured that I’d give that a try instead. I’m so glad that I did! Shaving the asparagus into thin ribbons and cooking it just long enough to make it tender is the perfect way to highlight asparagus at the peak of its season. Combined with salty bacon, buttery cheese, and a quick vinaigrette makes this some of the best asparagus you’ve ever tasted.
Once upon a time, I spent a weekend in Hyannis Port. I sat at a sidewalk cafe, basking in the July sun and trying to not look ridiculous as I cracked open the lobster I had ordered for dinner. I had no idea what I was doing and it was very hard to not make a mess (I had stubbornly refused the bib that the waiter had politely offered.) Then, out of nowhere, I saw Ted Kennedy walking down the street. Eating Ben and Jerry’s. And suddenly I felt very silly. What was I doing struggling with a stupid lobster that had next to no meat in it when there was a Ben and Jerry’s less than a block away? For the rest of the dinner, I could only concentrate on two things: “OMG Ted Kennedy is in town” and “I’m so getting ice cream when we’re done here.”
And that marks the last time I was ever able to think about lobster without also immediately thinking about Ted Kennedy. OK, OK, it also marks the last time I ever ate a whole lobster. I mean, why bother? They’re good, but only because they’re drowning in butter. They’re a pain in the butt to eat, not elegant at all, and you’ll finish dinner still starving since you only actually ate about 3 Tablespoons of food. Other full-sized menu items with lobster in them though? Like Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls or Lobster Risotto? Sign me up. Pairing that lobster with pasta, in Lobster Mac and Cheese or Ravioli? Even better — much more lady-like to eat and much less chance of leaving the dinner table still starving.
Which is why I was so excited to see that Buitoni’s new line of frozen dinners includes a shrimp & lobster ravioli. I had been searching high and low for this product for weeks, when I received an email from Foodbuzz asking for people to host a dinner party that pairs one of the new entrees with a vegetable side dish. Score! I immediately knew what I wanted to propose: I’m not really one for dinner parties and something about lobster ravioli seems so sexy to me that it seemed obvious to use the product as the basis for a quick and easy romantic weeknight in. Paired with a special yet simple-to-make salad dressed with homemade champagne vinaigrette and served with a glass of crisp champaign, this is the kind of meal that demands you turn the TV off and actually talk to each other. The whole meal can be prepared in 20 minutes (and with just one pot) and the price can’t be beat. They make it so easy that there really isn’t an excuse not to have a nice dinner at home. Why not celebrate a special occasion (oh,say, a tuesday) with a great meal like this?
Click to continue reading my thoughts on Buitoni’s Shrimp & Lobster Ravioli and for my vinaigrette recipe –>