- 1 cup walnut halves (4 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 pounds medium asparagus
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 large scallion, white and light green part only, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 ounces goat cheese, such as Bûcheron, rind removed and cheese crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts on a small baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a plate to cool, then break the walnuts in half lengthwise.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a work surface and let cool, then finely chop.&
- Pour 1/2 inch of water into a large pot fitted with a large steamer basket and bring to a boil. Discard the tough ends from the asparagus and add the spears to the steamer; cover and steam over high heat until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to paper towels and pat dry. Let the asparagus cool to room temperature, then cut on the diagonal into 2-inch lengths.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, scallion, tarragon, mint and chopped fennel seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the asparagus and walnuts to the bowl and toss with a rubber spatula. Add the goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to plates and serve.
To blend with the asparagus and complement the tangy goat cheese, go for a racy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.