Purple Asparagus Salad with Orange and Tarragon

Imagine this as a lunchean or brunch. Maybe with eggs or poached chicken. You can use green asparagus in the flavorful salad, but aren’t these purple specimens spectacular? Purple Asparagus Salad with Orange and Tarragon.

Purple Asparagus Salad with Orange and Tarragon 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4Published


  • 2 large (about ½ lb. each) oranges
  • .75 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup tarragon leaves
  • 12 thick purple asparagus spears (about 1 lb. total), rinsed
  • ½ red onion, sliced into ¼‑inch rings
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cut and peel the oranges removing as much of the white pith as possible. Working over a bowl, cut between inner membranes and lift out orange sections; place sections in the bowl. This is called “supreme”.

Squeeze juice from membranes into bowl. If preparing ahead, cover and chill up to 6 hours.

To make the dressing add 2 tablespoons of the fresh orange juice to a small bowl (save remainder for other uses). To that bowl, add ¼‑cup vinegar, sugar (to taste, depending on sweetness of oranges), and tarragon; mix, and then pour into a small pitcher.

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan, bring about 1 inch water and ¼ cup vinegar to a boil over high heat. Remove and discard tough ends of the asparagus, but do not peel them. Add spears to boiling water. Cook, uncovered, until asparagus is just tender when pierced, about 4 minutes. Drain and immerse spears in ice water until cold; drain.

Put the red onion slices in a bowl. Using your hands press and squeeze down on the onions to bruise them slightly. Rinse them in water and drain them. Add 4 cups ice cubes, 2 cups water, and the remaining ¼ red wine vinegar. Let stand until crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well and discard ice cubes.

Divide crisped onion slices evenly among 4 plates. Arrange asparagus spears and orange segments equally on plates. Add dressing, salt, and pepper to taste