I got this recipe out of the Southern Living March 2010 magazine and made it...we just loved it and presentation is over the top...Don't be intimidated by the long directions, it is really an easy salad and worth the effort...
- 1 1⁄2 lbs fresh asparagus
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1⁄4 balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pt.)
- 1⁄2 chopped red bell pepper
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 head bibb lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with a vegetable peeler if desired.
- Stir together 1 T. olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt in a large bowl.
- Add asparagus to olive oil mixture, and toss gently to coat. Place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake asparagus at 42°F for 13 to 15 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Cool 10 minutes.
- Whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, and remaining 7 T of olive oil, 1 T. basil and 1/4 teaspoons salt.
- Toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and take out 1 T. of the balsamic mixture you made and toss together.
- Arrange lettuce on a large serving plate or large bowl. Top with tomato mixture and asparagus. Add avocado just before serving. Drizzle with the remaining balsamic vinegar mixture.
- Note: To make ahead, toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion without the dressing. Store these ready to use ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 5 hours. The dressing and asparagus can also be made up to 8 hours before serving.