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Flour, raising agents or any products that contain them are banned during Passover. But cooking delicious meals is easy if you stick to fresh, seasonal ingredients simply prepared.

A cross between a salad and a warm appetizer, this dish works well as a Passover first course. It's good cold, but if you serve it while the mushrooms are still warm, they act like a sauce.

For an Easter first course, serve with toasted ciabatta rubbed with garlic. Use your best olive oil to sprinkle on at the end. If the asparagus is thick, peel it before cooking.

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Servings: 4

Ingredients

1½ pounds (750 grams) asparagus, ends snapped off

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped shallots or green onions

¾ pound (375 grams) mixed mushrooms, quartered

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups baby arugula

Dressing

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Method

Fill a large skillet with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus and blanch until tender-crisp, 2 minutes. Drain asparagus and refresh with cold water until cool. Place asparagus on tea towel to dry.

Using the same skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots, and when they begin to sizzle, add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms begin to exude their liquid.

Stir in garlic and balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat and let sit until just before serving. Season well with salt and pepper.

Combine mustard and lemon juice and whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in parsley.

To serve: Reheat mushrooms and add 2 tablespoons of dressing to skillet, scraping up any juices. Divide asparagus among four plates. Drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of dressing. Add a pile of mushrooms to each plate. Top with bouquets of arugula and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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