Kosher salt, as needed
1 pound asparagus (woody ends trimmed off), peeled
Flesh of 2 ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup canned hearts of palm (about 7 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (may substitute fresh hearts of palm; see note)
2 medium ribs celery, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fill a mixing bowl with ice water.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of the salt, then the asparagus. Blanch for no more than 2 minutes, then drain and transfer to ice-water bath to stop cooking. Cool, then drain and dry thoroughly. Asparagus should be tender but not mushy or crunchy. Cut each asparagus spear crosswise in half; cut only trimmed-end halves crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.

(Salad components may be prepped and refrigerated several hours in advance. Dress salad just before serving.)

In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2-inch asparagus pieces with the avocados, hearts of palm and celery. Drizzle the oil and lemon juice over mixture, then season lightly with the pepper and salt. Toss gently to incorporate.

Arrange 3 or 4 asparagus-spear halves at center of each plate. Divide dressed salad mixture on top. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

NOTE: If using fresh hearts of palm, blanch cut pieces in salted, acidulated water for a minute or 2, then drain and dry them thoroughly before using.