All the components in this salad can be made ahead. It will take you just a few minutes to compose the salad before serving.
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Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and adding cold water. Snap off the tough bottom part of each stem and peel the asparagus from just below the tip down to the base to eliminate any stringy toughness and to ensure even cooking. (Don’t overpeel; use a vegetable peeler to gently remove only the thinnest layer of skin.) Parboil the asparagus until the stems just bend, about 3 min. (Lift one stem out of the water with tongs, hold the base of the stem in your hand. The tip of the asparagus should just bend over at a 45-degree angle.) Transfer the asparagus immediately to the ice bath to stop the cooking and preserve the green color. Remove the asparagus from the water as soon as it’s chilled and drain it well. Refrigerate until about 15 min. before you compose the salad so that the asparagus isn’t served cold.
Make Ahead Tips
Make the ginger-lime glaze and the Asian Vinaigrette for the salad several days or one week ahead. Section the grapefruit and peel and parboil the asparagus for the salad in the morning. Put the grapefruit slices in the ginger glaze one hour to 30 minutes before serving.
I didn't have rice vinegar, so I used rice cooking wine. I didn't have dry sherry, so I used tawney port. My guests raved about the salad, and said it elevated the dinner to a professional level. Peeling the grapefruit sections was very tedious, but I would repeat the process in a moment. An execellent recipe. Thank you, Fine Cooking.
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