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Grilled Asparagus With Blood Oranges and Tapenade Toast

A stunning flavor/color combination and a snap to assemble are slices of crimson blood oranges, tangy with shallots and red wine vinaigrette, placed on slightly caramelized, grilled asparagus. Serve as a vegetable or salad at room temperature.

1 shallot
3 blood oranges (may substitute other oranges)
11/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
11/2 pounds asparagus

Peel and chop the shallot fine and macerate for 30 minutes in the juice of one-half orange and the balsamic and red wine vinegars. Whisk in olive oil to taste, a tablespoon or two, and season with salt and pepper. Peel just the zest from one of the oranges, chop it very fine and add to the vinaigrette. Peel oranges and slice them into thin rounds.

Parboil the asparagus for a minute or two, spray it with olive oil and grill over medium-hot charcoal, or atop the stove in a ridged pan or cast-iron skillet over medium high heat about 6 to 8 minutes until lightly browned and crisp tender. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the orange slices arranged on top of the asparagus spears. An earthy garnish is jarred or homemade tapenade on baguette toasts. Serves 4.

"Chez Panisse Vegetables" by Alice Waters

Thursday, March 18, 1999

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