May 22, 2010

Roasted asparagus and goat cheese salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette

Fresh asparagus. There's not much better, in my opinion, than a big bunch of fresh asparagus from a roadside farm stand on a spring day. My husband brought us home two big bunches, so we were eating asparagus omelets, pasta, and just plain asparagus. With the last of our asparagus, we ate this large and tasty dinner salad. This salad is a great spring dinner, lunch, or even a side dish. As with other salads, I am not going to post quantities of the salad ingredients. The quantities and proportions are up to you and also depend on if you are eating this for a meal or a side. I served this salad for dinner along with some herb bread my husband made.

Roasted asparagus and goat cheese salad
mixed baby greens (any you like)
goat cheese
slivered almonds, lightly toasted
dried cherries

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry the asparagus and greens/lettuces. Hold the asparagus and try to bend it at the end. Where the natural "break" occurs, this is the tough part that needs to be discarded. Do that for all the stalks. Then cut them in half. Arrange them on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Place in the oven and roast until just tender (about 5-7 minutes), turning them about halfway through the cooking time.

While the asparagus roasts, arrange your greens/lettuces on your plate(s). Top with dried cherries and toasted slivered almonds. Break up your goat cheese into bite-sized pieces on top. When the asparagus is finished, place it on top (when you put the warm asparagus on top of the goat cheese, it will get slightly melty and gooey, making it even better). Top with this dressing below (place all ingredients in a dressing container or jar and shake well (or a bowl and whisk together). The sweet and tangy dressing really compliments this salad well.

honey-balsamic vinaigrette
2 parts balsamic vinegar
1 part honey
1 part extra virgin olive oil
dash of sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

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