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more asparagus

I failed to mention while posting the asparagus soup a couple of days ago, that the main reason Sharon asked for the recipe was that asparagus is a smoking deal at Bashas’ grocery stores this week. Gorgeous pencil-thin bunches for .99 a pound! You only have today and tomorrow to run out and pick it up before the sale ends… hurry – grab your keys and leave now – get it before it’s gone! And in case you are like me, and can’t let a good deal pass you by and you pick up a couple more pounds than needed for the soup… here’s another healthy recipe using asparagus.

Have you tried the Harvest Grains Blend that Trader Joe’s put out yet? It’s good stuff; a mix of Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. You’ll feel like the healthiest person on earth after you eat it! Another bonus? It comes together in a snap!

Mixed Grains, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Salad

8 ounces goat cheese, such as Montrachet
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 pound package Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced (about 1/2 cup juice) *
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted almonds

Cut the 8 ounces of goat cheese in half.  Place 1 portion in a large serving bowl and leave it out at room temperature. Crumble the other half into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

Bring chicken broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add the grains blend, stir, cover, and reduce temperature to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and remove the lid. If any liquid remains, cook, stirring, until liquid evaporates. Pour over the goat cheese in the serving bowl and let sit so the hot grains melt the cheese.

Meanwhile, snap off the tough end of each asparagus stalk and discard. Cut off the asparagus tips, then cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, swirl to coat the pan, and cook the asparagus until just tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus to the grains in the serving bowl, toss well, coating with the goat cheese that is now melted in the bottom of the bowl.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Whisk the lemon zest, juice, and thyme with the remaining 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) olive oil. Pour over salad and toss. Taste salad again and season with salt and pepper, as needed.  Sprinkle with the cold crumbled goat cheese and almonds just before serving.

The salad may be served warm, at room temperature, or covered, refrigerated, and served cold.

Serves 8

* you can use standard lemons, just use less juice, or substitute an orange for one of the lemons.

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 01.31.11 at 5:02 PM }

Yay! Dinner tonight has goat cheese!

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