Grilled Asparagus Salad with Sourdough Croutons and Cilantro Dressing


6 thick slices sourdough bread, crusts removed
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb jumbo asparagus spears, ends trimmed
Sea salt
Black Peppercorns, ground
2 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ cup orange juice concentrate
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Sea salt
Cayenne pepper
4 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved
3 tablespoons chopped chives


Preheat a grill or broiler to medium-high.

Brush the bread slices with 1/4 cup of the oil and grill or broil until golden brown. When cool enough to handle, cut the slices into 1 1/2 inch cubes and set aside.

Toss the asparagus with remaining oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste. Place the asparagus on the grill and cook until char marks appear and the asparagus is slightly blackened, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, create the dressing by toasting the cumin seeds in a dry heavy skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Cool the seeds, and then grind with a mortar and pestle or a spice mill. In a blender or food processor, puree the orange juice concentrate and cilantro until smooth. Add the oil, lemon juice and cumin, mixing well. Add the mayonnaise and mix well. Season to taste with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

To assemble the salad, pile the asparagus on a plate with the tips all at one end. Drizzle with ¼ cup of cilantro dressing and garnish with the Parmesan cheese, croutons and chives. Season to taste with pepper. Serve remaining dressing on the side.

Serves 4.