The majority of my friends are dudes. I've always seemed to get along with men better and my best girl friends are exactly the same way. Perhaps this is because I swear like a sailor, prefer whisky to cosmos, and love a good fart joke. Don't get me wrong, I also love shoes. OMG Shoes! And makeup, and shopping, and all that other girlie shit. I probably just have more testosterone than your average female. Having lots of male friends is also very entertaining. Oh, the girls they bring home! Over the years I have become the go-to person for clothing advice, taking them on shopping excursions to help pick out the very best tie that will land them a hot bridesmaid at the next wedding they're going to. And when they finally do get that hot bridesmaid, and really want to impress the socks off her, I help plan a menu for a romantic dinner for two. I have become the Food Yenta.
I should also mention that not all of my guy friends use my culinary talents for sealing the deal. A good majority of them are quite gentlemanly, and just want to do something nice for their special lady friend with only the best intentions in mind. Recently a very good friend of mine came to me with such a request. I decided to share a recipe for my new favorite spring-time dish, a grilled asparagus salad with goat cheese crostini. You start off with a bed of baby arugula and watercress, lightly tossed in a lemony vinegarette, topped off with toasty grilled bread covered in a thick schmear of lemon peppered goat cheese that serves as a bed for grilled asparagus and a chopped hard boiled egg. The peppery flavor of the arugula and watercress compliment the zingy lemon dressing and the tangy goat cheese perfectly. And how can you go wrong with grilled asparagus?! The best thing about this salad is how quickly it comes together and how adaptable it is. Don't like goat cheese- give blue cheese or feta a try. I've always wanted to try topping the salad with a poached egg, but I will admit that the poached egg and I have had many battles and I have yet to be victorious.
As for my friend's romantic dinner, well, they're still dating so I'm assuming everything went off without a hitch.
Grilled Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese Crostini
1 bunch of asparagus
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil + 3 tablespoons
1 loaf rustic bread
3-4 oz. of goat cheese
zest of 1/2 a lemon
juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
1/4 teasopoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon honey
1 bunch baby arugula
1 bunch watercress
Trim and wash the asparagus. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill asparagus for 5 minutes on high in a grill pan or on a proper grill. Set aside. Next mix goat cheese, lemon zest, pepper and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl. Combine until the cheese is smooth and creamy. Slice the bread into 1/2 inch thick slices and brush with olive oil on both sides. Grill bread for approximately 3 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and brown. Once bread has cooled slightly, spread a generous amount of the goat cheese mixture onto the the bread.
Next, prepare the vinegarette. Combine lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, and garlic powder in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Slowly stream 1/3 cup of olive oil and whisk vigorously until the dressing emulsifies. Lightly coat the greens with the some of the dressing, being careful not to add too much.
Put a small amount of greens on the center of the plate. Top with the goat cheese crostini, placing it at an angle. Lay about 6 pieces of asparagus on top of the crostini and sprinkle with chopped hard boiled egg.