This fast and easy recipe exemplifies “spring” to me. There’s no story behind it, just a classic combination of fresh spring asparagus and sweet blood oranges. The flavors compliment each other and the colors are beautiful together on the plate.
If you’re not familiar with blood oranges they have a dark red color and taste almost like berries mixed with oranges. Sweeter than the typical orange, they are commonly found in the Southern Mediterranean, but it’s not uncommon to find them in the markets here in California. If you want, you can steam the asparagus but grilling it gives a slightly charred taste which balances well with the acidity of the vinaigrette and the sweetness in the blood oranges.
Before you start, get your grill ready or use a grill pan like this one; All-Clad 11-Inch Square Grill Pan. I don’t want to debate the merits of charcoal vs gas, so let’s just leave it at this; I love my gas grill for its ease of use, the grill pan is wonderful if you’re in a hurry or the weather is bad, and nothing compares to the taste of meat grilled over charcoal or wood.
Trim the tough ends off the bottom of the asparagus (about 2"). Toss the asparagus in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Grill over moderate heat for about 3-4 minutes on each side. The asparagus should be slightly charred and tender-crisp when done. Remove from the heat and put on a plate. Season with salt and pepper.
Prep the oranges:
Cut one of the blood oranges in half and squeeze the juice into a small bowl. Using a sharp paring knife, cut the skin and the white pith off the remaining two oranges. Cut in between the membranes of each segment to remove them from the orange. Do this over the bowl with the juice to capture any excess juice. After removing the segments squeeze what's left of the orange to get all the juice out.
Make the vinaigrette:
In another bowl, whisk together the shallots, wine vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the blood orange juice and segments. Spoon the vinaigrette over the grilled asparagus. This dish can be served warm, or at room temperature.