We adored this vibrant, flavor-filled salad when we first tasted it many years ago as a contribution to our Thanksgiving Buffet. But clearly this colorful salad is not just a once-a-year addition to a menu. Whenever you find fresh asparagus, the Asparagus Salad with Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese will take center stage. Many thanks to Judi and her daughter who acquired the recipe while prepping for chef Gary Danko.
My research on this versatile vegetable unearthed the following bits of useful info. I knew that asparagus came in three sizes: pencil-thin, medium and jumbo. I did not know that the thickness of the asparagus does not indicate maturity; a thin asparagus spear does not grow into a fat one. Consider using each size for different purposes: thin for stir frys, jumbo for roasting, grilling or simply steamed, and medium in any way you like.
Cutting the spears is fine as long as you take care to remove the woody ends. How to do that? I prefer snapping off tough asparagus bottoms at the natural bending point. The spear should break at a place where the asparagus has begun to lose its moisture. Yes, you’ll have spears of slightly different lengths, but you’re guaranteed no tough ends when you sit down to eat.
To peel or not? I didn’t know that the skin on larger asparagus spears doesn’t soften with cooking. So, it’s best to peel the lower stalks of medium or fat spears, both green and purple. Always, sources indicate, peel white asparagus. Simply use a vegetable peeler to lightly remove the skin halfway down the stem. Always keep the tips in tact.
Make ahead – The recipe can be prepared through step 3 up to 8 hours ahead. Refrigerate the asparagus, peppers and vinaigrette separately.