Asparagus Salad with Feta, Walnuts and Mint Vinaigrette
- 1 ½ pounds asparagus (medium thickness), tough ends trimmed
- 6 ounces butter lettuce, torn into bite size pieces (optional)
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves, about half of a ¾ ounce package
- 1 clove minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon, chopped)
- ¼ cup diced red onion
- 3 Tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (or more if you don't use the feta)
- a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup unrefined cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 3-4 ounces feta, preferably goat, crumbled
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus spears for 3 minutes for medium thick spears (less for thinner). Remove asparagus with tongs and immediately submerge in the ice water. Once cool, remove asparagus to dry.
- To prepare the dressing: place the mint leaves, garlic, rice vinegar, honey, diced onions, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor. Begin to blend and with the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Place lettuce on a platter and toss with enough dressing just to coat. Dry asparagus well and cut on the diagonal into fourths. Toss with a little dressing and add to lettuce. Scatter feta and walnuts all over salad and add more dressing if necessary.
The second photo shows how I store asparagus. When you bring it home from the market, trim the ends of the asparagus and store in a container with an inch of water at the base. Keep refrigerated. The asparagus will stay fresher for longer. When trimming asparagus to cook, bend the asparagus back close to the bottom and find the natural break in the stalk. Prepare as desired.