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Asparagus, Orange, and Lentil Salad

Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Buffy Hargett
Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 45 mins
Yield Makes 8 cups
Pink lentils add pretty color and texture to this salad. Cook them al dente (like pasta) so they remain firm when tossed with the dressing.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size fennel bulb
  • 2 large oranges, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • 1 1/2 cups dried pink lentils, rinsed
  • Champagne-Shallot Vinaigrette
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped assorted lettuces
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

How to Make It

  1. Rinse fennel thoroughly. Trim and discard root end of bulb. Trim stalks from bulb, and chop fronds to equal 1/4 cup; reserve stalks and remaining fronds for another use. Thinly slice bulb, and toss with oranges, pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cover and let stand until ready to use.

  2. Meanwhile, cut asparagus tips into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Cut stalks diagonally into thin slices, discarding tough ends.

  3. Bring 3 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add asparagus, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain. Pat dry with paper towels.

  4. Bring 3 cups water and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil in saucepan over medium heat. Add lentils; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain well, and rinse with cold water. Toss lentils with 1/4 cup Champagne-Shallot Vinaigrette.

  5. Combine lettuces, parsley, asparagus, fennel mixture, and fennel fronds in a large bowl; toss with remaining vinaigrette. Spoon lentils onto a serving platter; top with asparagus mixture.