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Spring Panzanella with Asparagus

Paul Costello
Total time 45 mins
Yield 8
Recipes for panzanella (a Florentine bread salad popular in the summer) typically call for tomatoes, but in the spring, Mike Lata prefers using seasonal ingredients like asparagus and radishes.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 peasant bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 pounds fat asparagus, peeled
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups packed young mustard greens or chicory
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound ricotta salata, thinly sliced and crumbled
  • 1 watermelon radish or 2 large red radishes, very thinly sliced

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Put the eggs in a saucepan of water and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Simmer for 6 minutes. Drain the saucepan and fill it with cold water. Crack the eggs all over and let stand in the water for 1 minute. Peel and thickly slice the eggs; the yolks will be barely cooked but not runny.

  2. Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp.

  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the asparagus until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool and cut the asparagus in half lengthwise.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of oil with the vinegar; season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the asparagus, toasted bread, greens, onion and cheese. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Garnish with the eggs and radish and serve.