I love asparagus, and it appears as a side dish on my menus a couple of times a week. This week’s recipe takes asparagus off the dinner plate and onto the salad plate as a starter to a summer supper or packable salad for lunch at work.
You begin the recipe by blanching one bunch of asparagus until tender-crisp. After it’s blanched you’ll want to shock it – or cool it quickly – in a bowl of ice water.
The simple dressing for the asparagus is a combination of orange juice and zest, champagne vinegar, honey and good olive oil. If you don’t want to make a trip to a gourmet store for the champagne vinegar, substitute rice wine vinegar. Both are light and slightly sweet.
The salad includes orange, not only in the dressing but also as fresh orange segments – also called “supremes” – that are tossed with the asparagus.
Making the orange supremes is simple – just cut off the top and bottom of an orange, peel off the rind and then slide your knife next to the membrane on each side of the orange sections. (You can use canned mandarin oranges.)
The oranges and the asparagus, along with very thinly sliced shallots, are combined with the dressing and refrigerated for several hours or overnight.
To make this a heartier lunch salad, add toasted almond slivers and a sprinkling of crumbled goat or feta cheese.
HONEY & ORANGE MARINATED ASPARAGUS
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
- 3 oranges, 1 zested and juiced, 2 cut into supremes
- ¼ cup champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
Blanch or steam the asparagus until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Immediately submerge the asparagus into ice water to stop the cooking. When the asparagus is cool, drain, pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
Combine the orange zest and juice with the vinegar, honey and olive oil in a large, zip-top plastic bag or a shallow container long enough to hold the asparagus without bending it. Squeeze bag to combine ingredients or whisk the ingredients together in the bottom of the container. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add the asparagus, orange segments and shallots, seal bag tightly or cover container with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Place asparagus onto a serving platter and drizzle with the marinade and arrange the orange segments and shallots on top.
Makes 4 servings.
Watch Karin prepare the recipe on Tuesdays on WJBF-TV 6 (ABC) at noon and Wednesdays during Good Morning Augusta.
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