I’m always looking for different ways to prepare usual ingredients. When I came across springtime-fresh asparagus at the market, I knew it would be part of our Easter menu – and- I wanted it to be visually appealing. I found a recipe on The Mediterranen Dish that was almost what I was looking for. So, after changing a few ingredients, I came up with my version of Asparagus Salad with Tomatoes, Feta and Basil.
Roasted Asparagus Salad with Tomatoes, Feta and Basil
Ingredients for the Salad:
- 1½ lbs. fresh asparagus (tough ends removed)
- Salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 2-3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup good quality Feta cheese (crumbled)
- 2-3 cups tomatoes (dice – or cut in half – depending on the type and size of tomato selected – such as Campari, grape, or Roma tomatoes)
- 10-12 large fresh basil leaves or mint leaves (torn into pieces, or cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
Ingredients for the Vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar (red or white wine vinegar may be substituted)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder (2 small cloves fresh, minced garlic may be substituted)
- 1 tsp. ground sumac** (see Notes below) (1 to 2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice may be substituted)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Once the tough ends are removed, rinse the asparagus, pat dry and cut into 2” pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Put the asparagus pieces in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat.
- Lightly oil a large baking pan with 1” sides. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer for even roasting. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Once done, place the pan of roasted asparagus on a wire rack to cool.
To make the vinaigrette:
- Place all of the dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until ingredients are blended. Note: Be sure to shake the vinaigrette before each use, as the oil and vinegar will separate each time the vinaigrette has time to rest.
To Assemble the Salad:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cut tomatoes with the crumbled Feta and gently toss them together with some of the shaken vinaigrette.
- Arrange the roasted asparagus on a serving platter. Drizzle with a little more of the vinaigrette.
- Arrange the tomato and Feta on top of the asparagus. Finally, add the basil or mint leaves. This salad may be served warm, at room temperature, or chilled.