This warm vegetable salad is filled with a flavorful blend of goat cheese, dates, pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
Snap off and discard woody bases from fresh asparagus. Cut fresh asparagus into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket. Bring water to boiling. Evenly arrange fresh or frozen asparagus in steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat; steam for 2 minutes. Remove. Arrange asparagus in a baking pan. Drizzle Italian salad dressing over asparagus. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you like, broil asparagus 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool slightly.
To serve, arrange mesclun on 4 large salad plates or 4 dinner plates. Sprinkle dates on top of the mesclun. Sprinkle with goat cheese and pecans. Arrange asparagus on top. If you like, top with chopped tomatoes. Drizzle with some of the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Makes 4 side-dish servings.