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Asparagus in orange vinaigrette

The first day of Spring has come and gone. I know we have frequently had sledding birthday parties even after the first day of Spring, but let's hope that the snow will soon be over. Soon the daffodils will be peaking through the soil, followed by crocus, and then it will be time for me to get the fresh herbs onto my deck and fill the window boxes and containers with the flowers that attract the humming birds to our deck. We love sitting and eating on the deck at night, as well as weekend breakfasts. Nothing beats a warm evening, a bottle of wine, and even just plain bread and cheese. But for something a bit more special try out my recipes. None are that difficult or expensive (except for the lobster of course), but you can wow your friends with a meal that tastes wonderful and can be made in advance, so that only the cream for the dessert needs to be done as your friends arrive. This menu would be great for part of a graduation party – I know the kids (of any age) just want burgers and chips. Girls weekend, even a bridal shower, wedding rehearsal dinner or a small wedding.

I made this on NH's ABC WMUR Cooks Corner, 27 April 2011, 2 days before the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as part of a Royal Wedding Breakfast.


Buy enough asparagus for 3-5 pieces per person depending on whether it is thick or thin stick spears of asparagus. Difference in thickness of asparagus is due to different varieties - eg difference between Granny Smith or Gala apples.

One of my April 2011 recipes for National Foundation for Celiac Awareness - now Beyond Celiac

1/3 cup hazelnut oil (or olive oil or walnut oil with toasted walnuts.)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) white wine or champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) orange juice concentrate

1 teaspoon (5 ml) gf Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons (10 ml) maple syrup

grated zest of 1 orange

½ teaspoon salt, fresh pepper

2-4 tablespoons (30-60 ml) finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons (30mml) ends of green onions or fresh chives


2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayonnaise or 2 tablespoons (30ml) sour cream

2 tablespoons (30ml) chopped, toasted hazelnuts – 350* for about 10 minutes

fresh cooked shrimp to garnish , number depending on size of shrimp

Gluten Free Asparagus in orange vinaigrette

  1. Break asparagus at the bending point, discard ends and cook in single layer in a skillet of boiling water until tender.

  2. Drain and rinse in cold water containing some ice, drain again. This helps keep the bright green color of asparagus.

  3. In a small jug mix together, oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, orange, salt and pepper. Stir well until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add fresh parsley and chives or green onions.

  4. Alternatively put dressing ingredients (except parsley and green onions/chives) in small blender and run. Add herbs and run just to chop. If you run the blender too long then the dressing will turn pale green. The dressing will stay thick mixed in a blender. If you just mix it in a jug it tends to separate out on standing. Or use an immersion blender in the jug. The dressing stays a more orange color if you don't use the immersion blender to chop the herbs. Or, you can add some sour cream or mayo to give both a creamier texture and a lighter color.

  5. Place asparagus in a 9” pie plate or equivalent and pour dressing over asparagus, cover and refrigerate until needed. Do give asparagus at least a couple of hours to absorb flavors of dressing.

  6. Optional: Then, mix together mayonnaise and sour cream, drain as much dressing as you can from asparagus into mayo mix and stir well to create new creamy dressing.

  7. Remove asparagus from fridge about half an hour before arranging on plates. Arrange asparagus spears together on individual plates, with tips pointing in one direction and spoon dressing along length of asparagus leaving top and bottom of asparagus without dressing (naked). Decant leftover dressing into jam jar or plastic container. It will last in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Stir well before use.

  8. Arrange shrimp on top of asparagus and dressing in a single line.

  9. Top with sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts and serve.

You can also top asparagus with tiny, cooked salad shrimp, smoked salmon, crab, lobster etc.

Note: Asparagus goes through the body very rapidly and has a very strong ammonia smell, don't panic, there's nothing wrong with you.

Don’t choose asparagus by how thick or thin it is. The thickness difference is due to different varieties of asparagus - consider Granny Smith v. Gala apples. Choose based on how tight the flower tips are (should be closed) no wetness/sliminess visible on the flower tips and firm stalks without wrinkles.

I have given links to products from to help you. Please consider purchasing there, your cost will stay the same, but I will receive a few cents for every dollar spent and can continue to bring you these recipes, advice and articles.

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