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Active time
40 minutes
4 Servings

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup red wine vinegar

⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil

16 spears asparagus, bottom ¼ trimmed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

2 bunches arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried

1 cup cooked cannellini beans (if canned, rinsed and drained)

1 small red onion, peeled and diced

¼ pound pancetta, thinly sliced and cooked at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes, until crispy, and drained on paper towels

  1. Heat the grill. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, cheese, garlic, and black pepper in a food processor or blender and puree to make a smooth dressing. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the basil, and set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with ice and water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus, and cook for about 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain and plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop cooking; then drain again. Rub the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until well seared.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the arugula, beans, and onion. Stir the dressing well and pour just enough onto the arugula-bean mixture to moisten the ingredients. (You will probably have some dressing left over; cover it and refrigerate to keep it for up to a week.) Toss well, place the salad on a serving platter or individual plates, top with the pancetta and asparagus, and serve.


Recipe from License to Grill, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, William Morrow and Co.

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