Shaved asparagus salad with fennel, pine nuts, baked goat cheese and a smooth lemon vinaigrette. Asparagus can be served raw, semi-cooked or roasted!Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
1Lemon- Zest (use the juice below in the vinaigrette)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1TBSWhite Wine Vinegar
1 ½tspDijon Mustard
1/3CupExtra Virgin Olive Oil
Prepare the Vinaigrette: Mix all ingredients together in a small container with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously to emulsify. Alternatively, you can whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl.
Prep & Marinate Goat Cheese: Cut the goat cheese log into 4 rounds, roughly ¾’’ wide and 1 ounce in weight each. Place rounds into a shallow baking dish and add olive oil. Transfer to the refrigerator and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, up to 2 days, gently flipping goat cheese over periodically.
Toast the Panko: Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring often, until golden brown and evenly toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove breadcrumbs from heat and transfer to a plate.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Bread the Goat Cheese: One disk at a time, remove the goat cheese rounds from the olive oil and place on top of the toasted breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Flip rounds over and on their sides to completely coat rounds with toasted breadcrumbs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all four rounds are coated.
Bake until soft to touch when gently pressed with fingertip, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Prepare the Asparagus: Cut off the tips off the asparagus and place in a large bowl. Holding the woodsy end of the asparagus, use a vegetable peeler to shred, in downwards strokes, asparagus into long strands. Snap off the woody ends and discard. Dice the thin, leftover inward pieces of the asparagus that are too thin to shred and add to the bowl. Add the thinly sliced fennel to the bowl and toss to combine.
For Raw Salad: Season the asparagus with salt and pepper to taste. For Semi-Cooked Salad: Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Season the water with 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Place the asparagus and leeks into a large sieve and lower into boiling water. Boil for one minute, remove and immediately dunk sieve of vegetables into ice bath to stop them from cooking. Allow vegetables to sit in ice bath for at least 1 minute, remove from ice water, drain thoroughly and transfer to a large clean kitchen towel or paper towels and pat dry. For Roasted Salad: Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roast vegetables for 7-10 minutes, or until desired doneness. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
To Assemble Salad: Place asparagus and fennel back into large mixing bowl if you chose to cook them and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pine nuts, crushed red pepper flakes and lemon zest. Toss to combine. Drizzle in vinaigrette to taste (you can always add more, so start with less) and toss again. Divide salad among serving plates and top with baked goat cheese rounds. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy.
For Olive Oil Marinade for Goat Cheese:
Use a high end olive oil
Using a flavored olive oil is preferred. I used a roasted garlic flavored olive oil
If using a plain olive oil, add a sprig or two of a fresh herb, such as rosemary or thyme.
*Baked Goat Cheese adapted from David Lebovitz.Nutritional information is an approximation based upon 2 servings. Exact information will depend upon the brands of ingredients and precise measurements used.