1/2 cup walnut halves 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar 2 large scallions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Place the walnut halves in a dry skillet and heat over medium high heat. Watching the pan carefully so that they don’t burn, cook the walnuts until lightly toasted on all sides and fragrant, shaking the pan periodically to get all sides toasted. Transfer nuts to a plate and let cool.
Meanwhile in a small skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium high heat until fragrant and golden, about 30 seconds. Transfer the fennel seeds to a mortar and pestle and grind until finely ground.
Pour 1/2 inch of water into a pan and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking process. Once cool, drain and pat dry with paper towels.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, scallions, tarragon and fennel. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add the asparagus and walnuts to the bowl and toss. Add the goat cheese. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.