This excellent starter is perfect for a light summer supper. The sherry vinegar and goat cheese create a bold flavor that complements the lightness of the vegetables perfectly.
Serves 4 to 6 as a first course
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1- by 1/4-inch strips
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of tough ends and cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, sliced thin (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon plus
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
1 bag (6 ounces) baby spinach
4 ounces goat cheese, cut into small chunks
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke; add red pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, stirring only once after 1 minute. Add asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook until asparagus is browned and almost tender, about 2 minutes, stirring only once after 1 minute. Stir in shallot and cook until softened and asparagus is tender-crisp, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Transfer to large plate and cool 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 4 tablespoons oil, vinegar, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl until combined. In large bowl, toss spinach with 2 tablespoons dressing and divide among salad plates. Toss asparagus mixture with remaining dressing and place a portion over spinach; divide goat cheese among salads and serve.