Friday, July 20, 2012

Salad with Asparagus & Olives and Oregano Balsamic Vinaigrette

After enjoying the spectacular vegan brunch at Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran, I was inspired by the Chef de Cuisine, Scott Gallegos. He created a delicious salad with grilled asparagus that inspired me to create something similar. I had a bag of the Pitted Salad Mix olives from Gloria's Harvest (see below for a coupon) that I wanted to use for something and this salad seemed perfect for them. I recently used their kalamata olives in a Greek Salad and discovered how amazingly fresh they are. They are imported from Greece, marinated in olive oil, and sealed in 8-layer bags that keep them fresh. They taste better than jarred olives and I think I may be turning the other cheek after having been a jarred olive lover since the beginning of time.

This salad meshes the flavors of roasted asparagus with olives complemented by the sweetness of roasted red peppers. Add my original balsamic oregano vinaigrette and you have yourself a perfect salad!

Salad with Asparagus & Olives and Oregano Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 8

Ingredients for Salad
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus 
  • Olive oil
  •  1 head of romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers
  • About 35 salad olives (I used 3/4 bag of Gloria's Harvest pitted salad mix including kalamata, green, black, and blond olives)
Ingredients for Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 T oregano balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • Sea salt to taste

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. I used a panini grill -- a grill pan may also work. Hold one asparagus stalk at the white end and break it off. Wherever it breaks off is where you can slice the rest of the asparagus stalks as that has been established as the natural breaking point. Once the grill has heated up, brush the asparagus with olive oil and grill them until charred. This took 5 minutes on the panini grill.

Chop the bottom off the romaine lettuce and chop from the bottom up in 1-inch slices.  Place the lettuce in a large bowl.

Chop the roasted red peppers and put them in the bowl. Then, add the whole olives.

Once the asparagus is done, chop the stalks into three parts and add to the bowl.

Then, make the dressing. Put the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and sea salt in a bowl and whisk. Add as much dressing to your salad as desired.

I really loved the oregano balsamic vinegar I picked up in Austin at Con' Olio Oils & Vinegars. But, feel free to use any balsamic vinegar in this dish.

Bon appetit!

UPDATE: Gloria's Harvest is offering my readers 10% off any order through August 15. Please use the following coupon code when ordering online: