This Asparagus and Brie Salad salad would make an exciting addition to your Christmas table!
The beautifully charred asparagus with creamy brie and tart cranberries are an elegant combination with the sweet Sangiovese verjuice.
Asparagus and Brie Salad with Hazelnuts
- Salad Spinner
- Small Food Processor or High-Speed / Bullet Blender
For the salad…
- 500 grams fresh asparagus 2 small bunches
- 150 grams mixed lettuce leaves
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (keep half for the garnish)
- ⅓ cup hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped (keep half for the garnish)
- 150 grams Brie cut into small rectangles (keep half for the garnish)
For the dressing…
- ¼ cup cranberries
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, roasted and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsps Sangiovese verjuice*
To grill the asparagus…
- Preheat char-grill to high (I always use my trusty Webber barbecue to do this).
- Cut the woody ends from the asparagus then wash.
- Place asparagus spears in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined.
- When the char-grill is hot place the asparagus perpendicular to grates so they don’t fall through and cook for 3-4 minutes, until nicely browned and tender-crisp.
- Remove asparagus from the grill, cut into thirds and place into a mixing bowl.
To make the salad…
- Wash the mixed lettuce leaves, remove any damaged or wilted leaves, then either pat dry or spin in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Transfer to your mixing bowl and add half the cranberries, and half the hazelnuts and half of the Brie.
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a small food processor or bullet/high-speed blender and blitz until well combined.
Putting it all together…
- Pour half your dressing over your salad, season with salt and pepper, toss gently until combined. This is a thick dressing and is just meant to coat the salad ingredients, resist the urge of drowning the salad with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- Place the salad in a shallow salad bowl, arrange the Brie over the salad and scatter the dried cranberries and roasted hazelnuts on top to garnish.
This video is courtesy of Half Hour Meals.
* So what is Verjuice…
Verjuice is made from the juice of unfermented grapes, the Sangiovese version is a slightly sweeter version of the classic and adds both a delicate aroma and slight sweetness to this salad.
Maggie Beer does an excellent version of this and it can be found in most gourmet food delis.
As a replacement, I suggest either 2 tablespoons of either lemon juice or a dry white wine with 1/4 teaspoon of honey for the sweetness needed in this recipe.
Green is the most common variety available in Australia. Thick, medium and mini spears are available. Its colour comes through photosynthesis as the spear emerges from the soil into direct sunlight.
Choose the best…
It should be brightly coloured with no shrivelled dry ends. Look for firm, bright smooth spears of uniform size with closed, compact tips without any bruising or damage. Check the ends for moisture as this indicates recent harvesting and avoid dry or split ends. When you snap freshly
harvested asparagus, it should be crisp, moist and juicy.
Asparagus is very simple to prepare all you have to do is remove the tough ends. You can do this by either by hand by holding the asparagus about halfway down the spear and bending the stalk until it snaps.
Alternatively, you may line up several spears and cut off the woody ends. White asparagus usually needs to be peeled as it has a bitter tough skin. You may choose to freeze your cut-offs to use in stocks.