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Monday, July 16, 2012

Grilled Asparagus Salad

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When I was in 7th grade, there was a kid, Matt, in my youth group. Problem was, I called him Mike for a good three or four weeks before he finally corrected me. Whoops. Now, more than ten years later, I think I'm finally getting the payback I deserve. At least once every couple of weeks, I get an email sent to me and addressed "Laura" or "Lauren". A far cry from Natalie! At least Matt and Mike started with the same letter! It seems people pull the "Laur" from McLaury and derive a new first name from it. I guess it could be worse, huh?, but I still shake my head every time I see "Dear Laura" at the beginning of an email.

This grilled asparagus salad goes by an accurate name--it is indeed grilled asparagus in a salad. However, I don't think the name completely encompasses all that's happening in this salad. It isn't just grilled asparagus...it also has cucumbers, tomatoes, chickpeas, kalamata olives, cheddar cheese, basil, and a citrusy vinaigrette to top it off. Oh, and don't forget the pita chips eaten alongside!
Sounds like good stuff, huh? I assure you, it is! This makes a rather large batch of salad, to serve at least 8 as a side dish. Its also hearty enough to serve as a main dish salad, and it (bonus!) requires no hot stove or oven, assuming you grill your asparagus outside.

One Year Ago: Homemade Cheez-its
Two Years Ago: Grilled Vegetables in a foil pack

Grilled Asparagus Salad
slightly adapted from Food and Wine July 2012
-1 lb asparagus
-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
-freshly ground pepper
-4-6 cups mixed greens
-1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch dice
-1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
-1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
-1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
-8 oz sharp white cheddar (I used regular cheddar), cut into 1/4-inch dice
-3 tbsp fresh orange juice
-1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
-1 tbsp red wine vinegar
-2 tsp dijon mustard
-1 tsp chopped basil
-3 cups pita chips

1. Light a grill. Brush the asparagus with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over high heat, turning, until tender, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into 1-inch pieces.
2. In a large bowl, toss the mixed greens with the grilled asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, olives, and cheese.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil until emulsified. Add the basil. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve with pita chips.