Stephanie Izard's Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Rhubarb Salad
Grilled asparagus is beautifully complemented by tart rhubarb, tangy goat cheese and rich, sweet balsamic vinegar in this creative, elegant salad. Peppery arugula and toasted almonds round out the flavors, and provide wonderful texture. When buying asparagus, look for firm, bright green stalks with tight tips. If stems are tough, simply remove the outer layer with a vegetable peeler.
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally, cook until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot liquid over the rhubarb in a medium bowl and let stand until the liquid has cooled and the rhubarb is slightly tender.
Strain the liquid from the rhubarb, reserving both. Make a vinaigrette by whisking 2 tablespoons of the balsamic vinegar-sugar mixture with the cup olive oil in a small bowl. Refrigerate the remaining liquid for another use.
Preheat the grill to medium-high or the oven to 350 degrees F. Trim off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus and toss the spears with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Place asparagus spears horizontally across the hot, oiled grill grates and grill until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once or twice. Let the asparagus cool slightly, then cut the spears into 2-inch pieces. (If grilling isnt an option, roast them in the oven for 20 minutes.)
In a large bowl, combine the asparagus with the arugula, goat cheese, almonds, and reserved rhubarb slices. Drizzle vinaigrette over all, toss to coat, and serve.