1 pound fresh asparagus spears
balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
ground black pepper
8 cups mixed baby greens
1/4 cup snipped pitted dates
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted

Snap off and discard woody bases from asparagus. Cut asparagus into 2- to 3-inch pieces.

Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket. Cover and reduce heat; steam 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat broiler.

Arrange asparagus in a broiler safe baking pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Broil asparagus 4 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

To serve, arrange greens on 4 salad plates. Sprinkle with dates, goat cheese and pecans. Arrange asparagus on top. Drizzle with some of remaining vinaigrette (save remaining vinaigrette for another use).

Makes about 3/4 cup

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Robin Davis