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.
About an hour before serving, put the grapefruit sections into a bowl and cover with the ginger-lime glaze. Keep refrigerated.
Arrange six large salad plates on your counter. Put the asparagus in a shallow container and cover it with a cup or so of the Asian vinaigrette, saving enough to dress the bottom of each salad plate. Let the asparagus soak in the dressing for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, cover the bottom of each salad plate with some of the vinaigrette; use the back of a soupspoon to spread it evenly. Arrange a pile of six or seven asparagus spears in the center of each plate. Arrange three grapefruit sections on each side of the asparagus, fanning them out. Sprinkle the sliced scallions over the asparagus and sprinkle some of the sesame seeds over the whole salad (go lightly; you may have extra).
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.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Ben Fink