Why This Recipe Works
Instead of roasting our asparagus, we took a much different approach and made a fresh, vibrant salad with raw asparagus. Slicing the spears thin was key to keeping them crunchy, not woody. An herb-based dressing complemented the freshness of the asparagus. Sweet orange segments, briny feta, and toasted hazelnuts were the finishing touches.
Serves 4 to 6
For easier slicing, look for large asparagus spears, about ½ inch thick.
2 cups fresh mint leaves
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
¾ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and chopped
Salt and pepper
1. FOR THE PESTO: Process mint, basil, Pecorino, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until finely chopped, about 20 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. FOR THE SALAD: Cut asparagus tips from stalks into ¾-inch-long pieces. Slice asparagus stalks ⅛ inch thick on bias into approximate 2-inch lengths. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Holding fruit over bowl, use paring knife to slice between membranes to release segments. Add asparagus tips and stalks, orange segments, feta, and hazelnuts to pesto and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Nutrition Facts: 390 calories, 33 fat, 7g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 17g carbohydrates, 11g protein, 7g fiber, 490mg sodium