Warm Baby Green Asparagus Salad
Called “Pencil” Asparagus, the spears need no peeling and are blanched for only about a minute, just to warm them through. With the roasted red peppers, mixed lettuces, and the straightforward herb-mustard vinaigrette, this makes a refreshing beginning to a meal, or it can stand on its own as a spring luncheon.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons prepared mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as chervil, tarragon, basil or oregano
- 6 new potatoes, scrubbed and cooked in boiling salted water until just barely tender
- Olive oil for brushing
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 shiitake or oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cleaned
- 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled seeded, and cut into strips (see note)
- 1 pound baby green asparagus, trimmed
- 4 cups assorted lettuces, such as red leaf, watercress, and/or arugula, washed and dried
- 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
- To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Se aside at room temperature.
- Prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill or preheat the broiler.
- Cut the potatoes in half, brush with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
- Grill or broil the potatoes and mushrooms, turning once, until nicely browned on each side. Transfer to a bowl, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm.
- Put the pepper strips in a small bowl and drizzle with olive oil.
- Blanch the asparagus in lightly salted boiling water for 1 minute, just to warm through. Drain well and spread on a plate. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the dressing, and let sit for a minute or so.
- Arrange the lettuces, asparagus, grilled potatoes and mushrooms, and roasted pepper strips on four serving plates. Sprinkle with the chopped tomatoes, drizzle with the dressing, and serve. Pass any remaining dressing on the side.
Note: To roast a bell (or other) pepper, place it under the broiler or on a grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning it several times, until charred on all sides. Transfer to a paper bag, close, and let cool. Rub the charred black skin off the pepper. Remove the core and scrape out the seeds.