Zak Pelaccio's Asparagus Kerabu


[Photograph: Michael Schrom]

Spring is here and with it comes many stalks of wonderfully green asparagus, and while we love them simply steamed, drowned with hollandaise, or topped off with a wobbly poached egg, we're thinking this Asparagus Kerabu from Zak Pelaccio's Eat with Your Hands might just be our new asparagus go-to for the season.

This take on a Malaysian salad soaks the stalks in a bath of lime juice and fish sauce before splitting the tips and stems for a raw/charred asparagus experience. The stalks are shaved thin and the tips are charred in a searing hot pan before getting tossed with ginger, bean sprouts, mint, onion, chiles, and ginger. The last, balancing touch is kerisik, or pan toasted coconut, that brings both sweetness and a crunchy-chewiness to the salad.

Recommended playlist and drinks pairing:

Listen: Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?"--the melancholy soul vibe that moves you in more ways than a naked chiropractor.

Drink: Ezio Voyat Chambave "La Gazzella" 2004, a unique moscato that I can't seem to drink enough of.

What Worked: This Asparagus Kerabu is a prime example of the bitter-sour-salty-sweet profile that makes Southeast Asian food so satisfying. The bitterness of the asparagus is complemented and accentuated by salty fish sauce, tart lime, and sweet, toasty coconut.

What Didn't: We couldn't possibly find a point of contention with this spring salad.

Suggested Tweaks: If you're not jazzed about shaving asparagus stems, charring them on the grill or in a cast-iron pan would be a time-saver.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of 'Eat with Your Hands' to give away.