When spring arrives each year, some fancies turn to love; others to gardening; to some, though, spring brings dreams of asparagus. It's fresh, it's cheap and it's everywhere. If you're tired of the usual little green spear standards, such as steamed with butter or stir-fried with other veggies, try this recipe for asparagus salad. It's a bit more robust than a green salad and a little more pungent.
Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Vinegrette
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 small sweet pepper, julienned
1 small Spanish or sweet onion, slivered
1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Heat vinegar and sugar in a small, heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. In a batter bowl, slowly whisk in oil, mustard, marjoram and garlic. Toss onions and peppers with dressing. Meanwhile, steam or boil asparagus in a large stock pot of salted water until al dente, 5-10 minutes, depending on size of asparagus. When cooked, drain, rinse in cold water and drain again. Pat dry. Place asparagus spears on a serving plate and drizzle with warm dressing. Sprinkle with nuts before serving.