Monday, November 16, 2009
This is one of my favorite side dishes for any occasion. I have to omit that I pray for leftovers to hide just for myself to chow on later...hmmmmm, little rewards for cooking. This is simple simple, don't let the lengthy look of this recipe scare you off, it's just a bunch of words which translate to very little action and yummy bursts of flavor. Go for it, you won't regret it and your family and friends will think you are an amazing cook!
ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH TOASTED WALNUTS AND GOAT CHEESE
1 cup walnut halves (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoonful fennel seeds
2 pounds medium asparagus
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoonful sherry vinegar
1 large scallion, white and light green part only, minced
1 tablespoonful chopped tarragon
1 tablespoonful chopped mint
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 ounces goat cheese, rind removed and cheese crumbled
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts on a small baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool, then break the walnuts in half lengthwise.
2.) Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then finely chop.
3.) Pour 1/2 inch of water into a large pot fitted with a a large steamer basket and bring to a boil. Discard the tough ends from the asparagus and add the spears to the steamer; cover and steam over high heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to paper towels and pat dry. Let the asparagus cool to room temperature, then cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths. (You can steam asparagus in your microwave, place wet asparagus on a dinner plate and cover with plastic wrap, place in microwave. Do not overcook; you want the asparagus to be firm, not soggy.)
4.) Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, scallion, tarragon, mint and chopped fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
5.) Add the asparagus and walnuts to the bowl (to the dressing) and toss. Add the goat cheese, season with salt and pepper, transfer to plates and serve. Stand back and wait for the applause!