This salad is so fresh and vibrant and the flavor of the grilled asparagus is out of this world!
I stopped at a favorite international grocery store in Seattle a couple of days ago to pick up some fresh Feta cheese. When I asked for some domestic Feta the man behind the deli counter looked at me like I was crazy. Actually, it was more like a look of pity. “This American cow’s milk stuff is nothing more than glorified pressed cottage cheese.” And when you think about it, he’s kinda right. He recommended I try the Bulgarian sheep’s milk Feta. I squirmed a bit and told him I wasn’t a huge sheep product fan. He convinced me to try some and I did. And my taste buds and tummy clapped their hands with approval (well, figuratively speaking, of course). So I had him bundle me up a pound of fresh sheep Feta with some extra brine and took it home with me along with a few other goodies (including German almond paste/marzipan and some imported Italian tomatoes…some great recipes coming up!
When I got home I debated what to make with this wonderful Feta. I opened my fridge and saw some beautiful red and yellow cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. At first I thought I’d make a standard Greek salad and headed to the pantry to get some red onions. But when I opened my fridge again to grab the cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, I thought I heard a lonely little voice coming from the crisper. I opened the drawer and saw a lovely bunch of asparagus, its sad little voice beckoning, “Choose me…choose me….” With a compassionate heart, I put the cucumbers back and grabbed the asparagus. I contemplated how I would incorporate it into my salad. It would need to be cooked to go in this otherwise raw salad, but steaming it seemed too boring. And then the little asparagus voice say, “Grill me…grill me….” And so I obeyed. And boy was the asparagus right!
*Note to self: Always listen to the asparagus. It knows what it’s talking about.
*Reminder to self: It always pays to be compassionate.
This salad is quick to make, visually beautiful, and fabulously delicious! Enjoy it as a side dish or as a light meal with some good crusty bread.
Let’s get started!
Wash and trim that beautiful asparagus.
Spread the asparagus out on a lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat and spared the asparagus out in a single layer if possible. Set the oven to “Broil” and grill for 7-8 minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus), or until lightly browned, tossing once or twice.
Voila! Your gorgeous, delicious grilled asparagus! Set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette. You can use whichever herbs you prefer. I prefer rosemary in this particular salad. But the second time I made it (the very next day – yes, it’s that good and we had my family over to enjoy it) I added some fresh thyme and oregano (because the oregano is already taking over my garden and needed to be trimmed back!)
Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients and shake until emulsified.
Roughly chop the red onions.
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
Transfer the cooled asparagus to a cutting board and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
Place all the veggies in a mixing bowl.
Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and gently toss to combine.
Add the Feta cheese and very carefully stir to combine. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving. Transfer to a serving dish. Best served at room temperature.
- 1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (use red and yellow for more color if you can find them), cut in half
- ¾ cup sliced red onion
- ½ - ¾ cup diced Feta cheese
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Turn the oven on to "Broil".
- Spread the asparagus out on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to coat and spread the asparagus out in a single layer. Roast for 6-8 minutes (depending on thickness) or until the asparagus is lightly browned, tossing once or twice. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Once cooled, transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- Place the asparagus, red onion and cherry tomatoes in a large mixing bowl.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, combine all ingredients and shake until emulsified.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and gently toss to combine. Add the Feta cheese and very carefully stir to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. If serving later, refrigerate. Best served at room temperature.
- Serve as a side dish or as a light meal with some good crusty bread.