I’m always looking for new ways to fix vegetables. Different combinations, fun flavors and textures. And let’s be honest — bathing suit season is just around the corner… My inspiration for this started at the farmers market a few weeks ago.
They had some beautiful asparagus displayed within arms reach of an avalanche of shallots and oranges.
Not an immediate “aha” moment, but an idea was percolating. At home I scavenged to see what else I had on hand. Pecans (I always have pecans). Feta Cheese and honey…. Hmmm…
Asparagus is one of those versatile veggies — it’s great blanched or steamed with a light hollandaise or garlicky aioli. Scott likes asparagus on the Weber and prides himself on getting those telltale grill marks on the spears without letting them slip through the grates.
To me, roasting intensifies the flavor and is the ultimate in ease and convenience. That’s the direction I took for this dish.
Fresh citrus always brightens up a recipe and look at how juicy and sweet these oranges are!!! Also, check out that cool knife, too! Its a bird’s beak paring knife and was one of my Christmas presents from Scott. It’s made specifically for cutting away the rind on citrus and it works for supreming them as well (though it takes a little practice).
The vinaigrette has orange zest (from that orange) — um, zest BEFORE you remove the rind. Believe me, it’s tougher to manage the other way around.
Cut the orange segments into bite-sized pieces to top the asparagus with.
Assemble the platter with the roasted asparagus first, then a scattering of toasted nuts, roasted shallots, diced oranges and feta. Finish with a drizzle of dressing. This is more than just a side dish. There’s so many flavors and textures that every bite is new!
If you love fresh asparagus, then this might be your new favorite dish!
- 1 pound asparagus spears
- 1 orange zested and supremed -- see note below
- 1/4 cup pecans chopped
- 1 shallot peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup feta cheese or goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons honey preferably orange blossom
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Trim ends of asparagus at their natural breaking point. Bend a stalk of asparagus until it breaks. Use the trimmed stalk as a guide to cut the rest of the asparagus in the same general place. Discard tough ends.
Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Add the shallots and pecans. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on the pan and roast for 10 minutes. Flip with a spatula and roast for an additional 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender, but still bright green.
Combine the orange zest, dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
Arrange the asparagus spears on a platter. Top with pecan-shallot mixture. Sprinkle with the oranges and cheese. Spoon the vinaigrette over the top of the asparagus and serve. This can be served warm or at room temperature.
To supreme citrus, use a sharp knife to cut the top and bottom of the fruit so that the pulpy flesh is exposed. Stand the fruit on one end and starting at the top cut the rind from the fruit to expose the flesh, following the natural contour of the citrus. Continue until all the white pith has been removed. Segment the fruit by slicing just inside the membrane on both sides of a segment and remove the fruit. Continue until the fruit is completely segmented. There's still juice in what remains of that orange, so squeeze it into the dressing for a little extra hit of citrus flavor.
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