Thursday, April 25, 2013

Asparagus Salad on a Bed of Arugula with Roasted Red Peppers & Kalamata Olives



I always keep an eye out for ways to dress up basic asparagus, which is always a favorite in our house. We serve asparagus several ways, but our two favorite ways are as a salad dressed with different vinaigrettes or napped with a simple lemon butter sauce as a side dish.

Today I have an asparagus salad, dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette, served over baby arugula, then gussied up with a topping of chopped roasted red peppers, red onion, and kalamata olives.

Don’t let the length of the recipes below scare you. I’ve broken it down into three recipes because the first two – poached asparagus and the balsamic vinaigrette - are very basic recipes that are nice to know how to make without needing a recipe. The last is the gussied up part – the arugula and the topping of roasted red peppers, red onion, and kalamata olives. This is super easy to prepare - yet I think you will agree with me – it is very impressive on the plate.



Basic Recipe for Poached Asparagus
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

1 lb fresh asparagus, tough lower ends snapped off
2 teaspoons salt
Water flavored with low sodium, low fat beef broth* to taste

After the tough ends of asparagus have been removed, peel the remaining ends unless the asparagus is thin; if thin, leave as is. Bring water flavored with beef broth and salt to a boil in a shallow pan. Add asparagus, turn heat to low and cook for about 4 minutes until asparagus is crisp tender, taking care not to overcook. Immediately plunge the asparagus in an ice water bath to stop the cooking and retain the green color. After a minute or two, remove the asparagus and dry well with a towel. You may either chill it for about an hour, wrapped, or serve at room temperature dressed with vinaigrette of your choice.

*I like to flavor my asparagus water with beef broth because it brings a very nice flavor to the cooking broth and thus the cooked asparagus itself.


Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

Balsamic vinaigrette differs from a traditional oil & vinegar vinaigrette in that it has less oil to vinegar from the standard 3 to 1 oil to vinegar ratio of a traditional vinaigrette. Mustard is used for flavor and as an emulsifier.  

1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, either regular or grainy
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a small jar with a tight fitting lid, add the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Shake well and set aside. If you want a milder vinaigrette with less emphasis on the flavor of the vinegar, use 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Easily doubled or tripled.




Asparagus, Roasted Red Pepper, and Arugula Salad
Adapted from Simply Salads by Jennifer Chandler – makes 4 appetizer salads

Balsamic vinaigrette from above recipe, doubled
1 lb freshly poached asparagus, prepared from above basic recipe
1 bag (5 ounces) baby arugula
1 roasted red bell pepper, thinly sliced and then chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Double the basic recipe for a balsamic vinaigrette, using the grainy mustard, and set aside. I used aged red balsamic vinegar, but if you wish use a white one for this as was called for in the original salad recipe from Simple Salads. Prepare the basic recipe for poached asparagus above. Layer the asparagus in a row on top of the arugula either on individual serving plates or on a serving platter. Generously drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette, then garnish with the roasted red peppers, red onion and olives. Grind a little freshly ground black pepper over the salad. Good served at room temperature.


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This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend everyone.




43 comments:

  1. Beautiful, colorful and surely extremely delicious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Sounds like a nice fresh salad Sam:@)

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  3. Asparagus is our first treat from local gardens and it's about two weeks away. Your "gussied" up offering looks like yet another way to serve one of our most favorite vegetables.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  4. Have loved asparagus since very early childhood. Though my mom never made a salad out of them, we loved them anyway. This is a salad that would just be perfect! Gorgeous.

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  5. Beautiful looking salad. I love asparagus and this sounds wonderful. If you get a chance, stop by my blog. I am having a giveaway for my new cookie cookbook.

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  6. I like your gussied up asparagus...love the color and flavor that you have given to this dish.

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  7. Oh yes, I love this combination! Great way to make asparagus even more tasty.

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  8. Not only does it look delicious, but it is so pretty and colorful!

    XO,

    Sheila

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  9. You know that I love asparagus and arugula a lot, don't you? I love the flavours!

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  10. I was at the farmers market yesterday and actually found local asparagus. So excited to turn it into something remarkable.

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  11. I have actually done his! But without bedding this on arugula (now I will). You do have a knack for gussying up asparagus. WE have made the asparagus with the figs twice already with more to come. (Need to use up that fig vinegar) I love the colors - love when people make vegetables so alluring.

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  12. So many recipes on blogs right now for asparagus... beautiful photo....

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  13. Well roasted peppers..get me every time..as well as asparagus and arugula..
    Beau!

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  14. I buy asparagus often in spring and this looks like a wonderful way to prepare it, Sam. Your photo is so enticing!

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  15. Nice looking salad Sam. Our crop is starting to produce well and I just gave away a double handful to our neighbor.

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  16. So fresh and spring-like. Great flavor combinations.

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  17. We are picking our asparagus now and I have rocket in the garden so this dish sounds perfect for us.Thanks Have a good day Diane

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  18. I love asparagus most any way. I have used it as a salad but not with arugula. I like the idea of mixing those two flavors.

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  19. Wow does this ever look amazing!! I'm stopping by from Foodie Friday blog hop.
    Thanks
    Angie
    godsgrowinggarden.com

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  20. It may look like a simple salad, Sam, but the flavors are complex. Could eat this for dinner nearly every night!
    ( I probably should add that hothouse rhubarb is usually much redder than summer rhubarb.)

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  21. Very attractive asparagus! Hopping from Home Maid Simple Foodie Friday.

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  22. This is a complete meal for me I love the veggie combination. Thank you for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

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  23. This 'gussied up' asparagus looks amazing---who needs meat?

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  24. Beautiful asparagus dish Sam. Me too, I'm always looking for new recipes.

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  25. Hi Sam,
    I am just thinking of you back in your Mountain home enjoying this wonderful Asparagus Salad. This is one of those salads that just makes the meal so special or is the meal, we are going to love it.

    Your recipe is fabulous and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday. Have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  26. Asparagus is so wonderful - and so many lovely ways to gussy it up! I love the contrast of green and red - beautiful!

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  27. What a fantastic salad...This recipe is being bookmarked for my next dinner group party...I just love the presentation of this dish! Hello to a fellow North Carolinian!!

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  28. Hi Sam, I think I am on my way to the market~this would be perfect this evening with my salmon! What a colorful combination of freshness!! Thanks for the post!!

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  29. Ever since I made that salad with arugula and portobellos, I have finally grown to like arugula. Asparagus is an old favorite, so I MUST make this salad.

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  30. Wow, this looks so good. I love arugula and asparagus and yours looks so colorful.

    Great to have at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

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  31. What a beautiful salad! I have a hard time shooting salad photos, which you'll be able to see if have enough never to post it :) There is not one component of this salad I wouldn't love.

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  32. This salad looks so good...like the way you presented and the Kalamata olives sure give the salad an extra kick...
    Have a lovely week Sam :)

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  33. This is definitely the most beautiful way to dress up those gorgeous asparagus. I love spring and all the great produce it brings...especially asparagus. Can't wait to try your recipe.

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  34. delicious! One of my favorite veggies is asparagus and this is a perfect take on it with the arugua and so perfect for a large group of people

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  35. I can dig this poached asparagus salad.

    Velva

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  36. Beautiful! I just picked our first asparagus today and served it along with a ham/red onion/potato in cheese sauce casserole. Comfort food. But I'll give this salad a go soon!

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  37. Another winning home-run recipe from Sam! Wow, what a beautiful and delicious way to prepare and enjoy fresh spring asparagus! Gotta make this one soon!

    Roz

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  38. Beautiful salad! I adore asparagus and this is a wonderful new way to serve it. Thanks for sharing!

    xo
    Pat

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  39. One of the most beautiful arrangements of asparagus I've ever seen. Looks delicious . I just started to follow your blog and would love a follow back at www.glutenfreematters.com

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  40. This spurred an idea in my head, I want to try to butter poach asparagus for this salad. I'm not sure how to cool it down after the cut without rinsing off the butter though, maybe on a resting rack stuck immediately into a freezer instead of cold water?

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  41. I'm amazed that asparagus is good with olives and arugula. I never would have guessed it. I will have to try this.

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