Roasted Asparagus and Beet Salad

This just might be THE BEST asparagus I have ever made.

I found the recipe in the Weekend Edition of The Wall Street Journal. I served it with Turmeric Rice and Oven-Baked Panko-Crusted Turkey Cutlets with Olives, Capers and Artichokes. I did make a few changes to the asparagus recipe as noted below in the directions.

Ingredients:

4 medium beets, tops
trimmed
¼ cup grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
6 cipollini onions, peeled (The supermarket did not have these so I used a Vidalia Onion.)
½ cup sunflower seeds (We didn’t have these so I used Pumpkin Seeds.)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
½ jalapeño pepper, deveined, seeded and minced (I used the whole jalapeno!)
Lemon juice
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions:
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet, rub beets with oil and season with salt. Place in oven and roast until a knife can be easily inserted through centers of beets, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, roast other vegetables: On an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet, toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet in oven and roast until asparagus begins to sizzle and is just al dente, about 8 minutes. Repeat with onions: Cook, turning once, until just soft, about 15 minutes. On a baking sheet, toss sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of oil and season with salt. Place in oven and toast until slightly colored, 5-7 minutes. (NOTE: I began with the onion and after 7 minutes I added the asparagus and then after another 7 minutes I added the pumpkin seeds.)
3. Meanwhile, make relish: In a small bowl, combine scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, a drizzle of oil and lemon juice and salt to taste. Set aside.
4. In a bowl, toss roasted vegetables with lemon juice and oil to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Cut onions in half crosswise and beets into wedges. To serve, divide asparagus among four plates. Add onions and beets and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Top with shaved Parmesan and a spoonful of relish.

—Adapted from Peter Hoffman, Back Forty and Back Forty West