I see lots of recipes calling for both asparagus and tomatoes, but I am never really convinced that they go together all that well. In spite of that I decided to try making a dressing that would use up some of our large store of dried tomatoes and last season’s garlic. I really loved the resulting dressing, and it went well enough with the asparagus, although I think it would go just as well with many other things. That’s a good thing since the recipe makes a lot more than will be needed for the salad. Use the extra on other salads, as a spread for sandwiches, or as a sauce for plain grilled meats.
This salad is mostly asparagus and home-made croutons, which seems like a fine idea to me. I tried the dressing both with and without the mayonnaise added, and we both agreed that the mayonnaise-free version was just too strong.
Both the dressing and the croutons could be made up to a day in advance, making final salad preparation quick and simple.
45 minutes prep time
Make the Croutons:
2 cups cubed stale bread
2 tablespoons bacon fat OR chicken fat OR olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed basil
Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes. Heat the fat or oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss the bread cubes in it, distributing the fat as evenly over them as you can. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread is dry and toasted. About halfway through the process, sprinkle them with the salt, pepper, and basil. When done to your liking, remove them from the heat and set them aside until wanted.
Make the Dressing:
1/4 cup dried tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons rubbed basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise – light is fine
Put the tomatoes in a small pot with the water. Bring to a boil, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic, and put it in the bowl of a food processor with the oil, salt, pepper, basil, and balsamic vinegar.
Add the tomatoes with the soaking liquid and process until smooth. Process in the mayonnaise. Remove to a serving container and keep refrigerated until wanted.
Finish the Salad:
500 grams (1 pound) fresh asparagus
2 to 3 cups lettuce or mixed salad greens
Wash, trim, and cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook the asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes, until done to your liking. Promptly drain it and rinse it in cold water to stop it from cooking further. Drain well.
Wash and tear up the lettuce or greens, and drain them very well. Arrange them on a serving platter or individual serving plates. Mix the asparagus and croutons and arrange them over the lettuce or greens. Drizzle with the salad dressing.
Last year at this time I made German Radish, Cucumber, & Apple Salad.