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Skillet Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese

2014 May 3

When I found myself frequenting the gym (back when we lived in a city), I read a lot of magazines. I subscribed to a few, too, and Cooking Light was one of them. Reading magazines was my favorite way to pass time on the aerobic equipment in the gym – short bursts of articles that didn’t make me nauseous or require too much focus to comprehend.

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We live in the country now far, far away from a gym and I spend way fewer hours on the treadmill and so magazines lost favor with me for awhile.  My niece recently had a school fundraiser, though, that sold subscriptions so I decided to resubscribe to Cooking Light.  May’s issue was on quick and easy meals – recipes that are NEVER bad to be included in our household’s dinner rotation.  This salad was inspired by one in the magazine.

We adored my adaptation and the only thing I regret is not having my camera battery charged to photograph it – the above picture is from my cell phone.  I couldn’t not share this with you, though, so forgive the poor photo!

The recipe seems a little long and involved but it really comes together rather quickly.  The flavors are mature and sophisticated and definitely make you feel as if you are eating way more than just salad for dinner.

Skillet Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese (adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, trimmed (about 30 medium spears)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons julienne-cut orange rind
  • 1 teaspoon julienne-cut lemon rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups mixed baby salad greens
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add one-third of asparagus mixture; cook 4 minutes or until lightly charred and crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; set aside. Repeat procedure twice with the remaining asparagus mixture.
  2. Place 1 cup water in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until water just boils. Add orange rind; let stand 20 seconds. Drain, reserving rind. Repeat procedure with lemon rind.
  3. Combine orange rind, orange juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until juice mixture measures about 3 tablespoons (about 5 minutes). Combine lemon juice, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add 5 teaspoons oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in orange juice mixture.
  4. Place greens on plates (3-4 servings). Divide asparagus evenly among salads. Top evenly with cheese, pecans, and tarragon. Stir lemon rind and parsley into orange juice mixture; drizzle dressing over salads.