Every year, I look forward to asparagus season more than words can express.
But, this year something really special happened: I’ve actually planted my own asparagus bed! I ordered asparagus crowns (roots), which look like octopuses with skinny legs, and dubiously planted them in a raised bed, following the instructions to the letter.
I wasn’t sure that they would come up, but not two weeks later, my baby asparagus are popping out of the ground with gusto.
And even though I won’t be able to harvest from my asparagus patch for two years, when I see those frisky stems emerging from their bed the wait seems well worth it.
In the meantime, I’ll get my fresh spears from one of our local farmers markets and make today’s exotic and massively flavorful salad as many times as I can before the season has passed.
See all salad recipes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Move the rack to the top of the oven. Spread the asparagus out on a baking dish. Brush with the olive oil and season with salt, to taste. Bake until the tips begin to brown, about 8-10 minutes depending on their size. The stalks should still be bright green. Remove from the pan and let cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the salt and snow peas. Boil for 2 minutes. The snow peas will turn bright green. Drain and transfer to the cold water bath. When the snow peas are chilled through, drain and spread on paper towels. Set aside.
Peel the orange to its flesh and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds, pith, and threads in the center, and slice each half crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Set aside.
Heat a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sesame seeds and sauté until light golden, about 2-3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan constantly. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.
Place the arugula leaves in the center of each plate. Tuck a few snow peas and orange slices between the leaves. Top with the roasted asparagus. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately.