Mesclun Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Portobello Mushrooms

by Patti Bess

When the weather starts feeling even slightly warmer and we turn the corner past Easter, my culinary time clock says I’m ready to fire up the grill and enjoy our first candlelight dinners on the deck. H. Potter’s graceful pewter-and-gold-finished candle holder is the perfect choice.

My husband has certain things he loves to grill, but I have my own specialties. Portobello mushrooms and asparagus are the first things that come to mind.

Portobellos on the grill, now that’s a marriage made in heaven (cliché or no cliché). Portobellos are brown button mushrooms grown to a larger meatier size, with a pronounced, earthy flavor—they are about as close to a juicy steak as the plant kingdom can come up with. These satisfying ‘shrooms provide nutrients including magnesium, selenium and fiber.

Spring just hasn’t sprung until I’ve taken that first bite of tender, grassy asparagus. Roasting it on the grill and tossing into a salad is only one of dozens of ways to enjoy it.

Blend the asparagus and mushrooms together with spring’s gift of baby greens and you have a salad I could live on for a great many days and not tire of it.

Print this recipe to save for that first deliciously warm evening and special dinner on the deck.

Mesclun Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Portobello Mushrooms

  • 4-5 ounces mesclun mix of young greens (about 6 cups)
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (about 1/2 t. dried)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pound Portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough woody ends removed
  • Extra olive oil, salt and pepper for grilling

Preheat a gas grill to medium high or build a fire in a kettle grill.

Wash, dry and tear up greens. Add to a large salad bowl and set aside.

Add the shallot, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and thyme to the blender; blend until smooth. With the machine running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Brush the asparagus and mushrooms with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush the grill lightly with a vegetable oil. Put the mushrooms on the grill, turning occasionally to avoid sticking. Add the asparagus and grill, rolling them frequently to avoid burning. (A vegetable grilling basket is helpful for asparagus on grills with widely spaced grates.) Grill the mushrooms about 10-14 minutes total, depending on the heat of the grill. They should be crispy at the edges but still juicy. Cook the asparagus until browned and crisp tender, about 6-8 minutes, depending on their thickness. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool.

Drizzle the salad dressing over the greens and toss well. Cut the asparagus and the mushrooms into 1-inch lengths. Add to the salad and mix in with the lettuces. Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

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