Asparagus and Citrus Salad


Happy December!  It may be getting cold in your neck of the woods, but here in sunny Florida, the weather is cooling off and it’s the perfect time of year for outdoor picnics!  In a quest to take something tasty yet healthy to a Sunday afternoon gathering of friends at an outdoor concert, I stumbled across the Asparagus and Citrus Salad from the Junior League of Tampa’s Capture the Coast cookbook.  And it got rave reviews, even from my pickiest (and vegetable-hating) friends!

If you’re looking for a tangy, crunchy, citrus-y, and smooth salad, all wrapped into one… This is it! It is multi-dimensional, and yet the flavors complement each other perfectly.

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Recipe & Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup orange juice (from ½ large orange)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ½ cup peanut or olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds small/thin asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese

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  1. Place a large pot on the stove at high heat, and salt the water well. Bring to a boil.
  2. Trim the asparagus by breaking the ends off. Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus to it and cook for 3-5 minutes (I did 3 ½ minutes so I had a few extra seconds to transfer the asparagus to the ice bath).
  3. Place ice in a large bowl, and cover with cold water. Once the asparagus are finished cooking, drain the hot water and transfer to the ice bath, and let cool. Once cooled completely, drain, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, take ½ a red onion and slice it thinly. Add to the same large bowl.
  5. Next, prepare the oranges. Start by creating a flat base for the orange to stand on – take about ¼’ of the top and bottom off (see step 1 below). Next cut from the top of the orange to the bottom in a curved angle to remove the orange rind, but leave most of the orange flesh.  You can go back and trim any excess off.  Once the peel has been removed, then hold the orange in your hand, and using your knife, cut along the membranes to remove a lovely orange wedge. Add to the same large bowl.
  6. Add the blue cheese to the bowl with the asparagus, oranges, and onion.
  7. Make the vinaigrette by whisking vinegar, orange juice (I love fresh squeezed!), Dijon mustard, orange zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Once well combined, whisk in the oil (note: the recipe calls for ½ cup oil – I only needed to use ¼ cup).
  8. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss well to coat.

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Enjoy! Savor the flavors of this fresh salad – tangy, crunchy, tart, citrus-y, and bright.  If you try it, please let us know what you think!

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