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Asparagus & Mushroom Salad
with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Makes 6 Servings
*1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (See Notes)
*1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
*1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
*1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
*3 tablespoons olive oil
*1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
*1 red bell pepper
*1 yellow bell pepper
*2 tablespoons butter
*2 tablespoons olive oil
*8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
*2 tablespoons minced garlic
*1 small red onion, thinly sliced
*2 tomatoes cut into 1/2-inch pieces (rough diced)
*Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
*1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1To make the pomegranate vinaigrette, whisk the pomegranate molasses, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of each black pepper and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the dressing to taste with more salt and black pepper.
2To make the salad, cut the asparagus crosswise in half, then cut each piece lengthwise in half. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook just until it turns bright green, about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer the asparagus to a large bowl of ice water. Let stand until cold. Drain the asparagus and pat completely dry.
3Roast the red and yellow bell peppers over a gas flame until lightly charred all over, about 10 minutes. Enclose the peppers in a plastic bag until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed and slice the peppers into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Pat the peppers dry to remove any excess liquid.
4Melt the butter and oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and saute until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms and garlic are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Add the cooked asparagus, roasted peppers, onion and tomatoes to the mushrooms. Cover and refrigerate until the salad is cold.
5Toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on a platter. Sprinkle with basil and serve.
  • Pomegranate molasses comes in the form of thick syrup. It lends sweet and tart flavors to any dish. Concentrated pomegranate juice can be used as a substitute for pomegranate molasses, although it is slightly bitter. If using concentrated pomegranate juices, add a bit of sugar to balance the flavors. Both pomegranate molasses and concentrated pomegranate juice can be found at Middle Eastern markets, most specialty foods stores and in the ethnic section of some supermarkets.
  • Immersing asparagus in ice water stops it from cooking and prevents it from discoloration. To keep the colors bright, toss the salad with the vinaigrette just before serving.
  • Source
    Zov Karamardian, Zov's Bistro, Tustin, CA