Nine times out of ten, I prepare fresh asparagus by roasting it in a hot oven, but every now and then I'll do something a little different. This week I made a colorful salad with a really delicious balsamic dressing. Truth be known, the dressing is the real star of the show here. Use it as a dip on a crudite platter.
Trim and discard the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut the spears into 1 1/2 or 2-inch lengths.
Also needed, sliced almonds and chopped bell peppers. I used a mix of red, yellow, and orange bell peppers.
The delicious dressing is made of dijon mustard, really good quality balsamic vinegar, dried marjoram, olive oil, granulated garlic, and kosher salt.
Combine the ingredients together with a teeny tiny whisk. I like things that are teeny tiny.
Okay, time to blanch the asparagus. To do this, place the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for just a few minutes. They should soften a little, but still retain some crispness, and their color should remain bright green.
Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking process and lock in that vibrant color.
When the asparagus has cooled completely, drain it well.
Place the drained asparagus on a clean kitchen towel.
Pat the asparagus dry and toss with chopped bell peppers and balsamic dressing. Place on serving platter and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Dressing
makes 4 servings
- 1 1/2 tablespoons very good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup diced bell pepper (red, orange, or yellow)
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, optional
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic, olive oil, dijon, marjoram, and garlic powder; set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, bring 4 cups of water and a healthy pinch of salt to a boil.
- Cook asparagus pieces for 3-4 minutes until crisp-tender; remove from pan and cool in ice water bath to stop the cooking process.
- Drain asparagus and pat dry; place on a serving platter and drizzle with balsamic dressing before topping with diced bell peppers and almonds.