FRESH ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH SHRIMP, ORANGES AND MINT
1-1/2 lbs fresh asparagus spears
1 red bell pepper, julienned
4 small juice oranges or blood oranges
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1 lb fresh shrimp meat
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
Grated zest and juice of 1 small orange
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
In a small bowl combine shallots, vinegars, orange juice and zest, mint and mustard. Slowly add olive oil stirring until combined and thickened. Chill until needed.
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Wash and break off the tough woody stems of the asparagus and if spears are thick peel stems up to the flower buds. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook until bright green and just about tender, about 4-5 minutes. Drain well and rinse with cold water. When cool combine the asparagus, red pepper and shrimp and toss with the vinaigrette. Divide evenly on salad plates or on one large platter.
With a sharp serrated knife cut both ends off the remaining 3 oranges and then peel by cutting down the sides of the oranges, following the contours of the orange. Then slice the peeled oranges into 1/4 to 1/2 slices. Arrange orange slices on top of the asparagus spears and sprinkle with the toasted nuts. Garnish with additional chopped fresh mint if desired.