Grilled Asparagus with Citrus-Beet Salad and Whipped Ricotta

Grilled Asparagus with Citrus-Beet Salad and Whipped Ricotta
Crisp-tender asparagus and a sweet, earthy mixture of beets and citrus are tossed in an herb-packed, umami-rich salsa verde.Kat Craddock

Flame-kissed asparagus spears are tossed in salsa verde and served with citrus-marinated beets and a dollop of whipped ricotta in this elegant spring appetizer. It also makes an excellent side dish for grilled lamb, poultry, or fish.

This recipe comes from chef Kevin Johnson of The Grocery in Charleston, South Carolina.

Equipment

Grilled Asparagus with Citrus-Beet Salad and Whipped Ricotta
Flame-kissed asparagus spears and a sweet, earthy mixture of beets and citrus are tossed in an herb-packed, umami-rich salsa verde in this sophisticated spring starter.
Yield: serves 4
Time: 50 minutes

For the salsa verde:

  • 2 Tbsp. minced green garlic (or substitute 1 Tbsp. finely chopped scallions and 1 Tbsp. finely minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest, plus 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy fillet, minced
  • ¾ tsp. minced capers
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. medium asparagus
  • 1 medium golden beet (7 oz.), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 pink grapefruit, cut into segments
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
  • 4 medium scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Make the salsa verde: In a small bowl, add the green garlic, citrus zests and juices, anchovy, capers, and mustard. Season with salt and set aside for 15 minutes. Stir in the dill, parsley, mint, and oil.
  2. Make the salad: In the a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the ricotta and whip on high speed until very smooth and fluffy, 10 minutes. Add the lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine; refrigerate.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Drizzle the oil over the asparagus and season lightly with salt and pepper. Transfer the asparagus in a single layer to the grill and cook until the exterior is charred but the interior retains some crunch, 1–2 minutes. Transfer to a wide bowl. Add 2 tablespoons salsa verde and toss to coat.
  4. In a medium bowl, add the beet, citrus segments, tarragon, parsley, chives, and scallions; toss to combine. Add 2 tablespoons salsa verde, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer the asparagus to the center of a large platter and drizzle with the remaining salsa verde. Arrange the beet mixture on one side of the asparagus and add a generous dollop of whipped ricotta on the other; serve.