Grilled Asparagus Early Summer Salad

It's summer! Not officially, we know, but secretly it is. Here's are some clues:

1. No school. 2. We saw fresh corn. 3. There's light at 8:30 p.m. and (as if we weren't already suspicious of the season's arrival) 4. The asparagus we cooked yesterday tasted like summer asparagus -- lightly charred and smoky, with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper bits clinging to them.

Luckily, we planned to incorporate the asparagus into a salad, because otherwise I fear we would have been overwhelmed by their pure summer-ness (summerosity? summersion?) It's only May, for goodness sake -- give a girl some time to adjust! So we placed our summer asparagus over greens with tomatoes, goat cheese and a lemon vinaigrette, and found them just right.

For our dressing, we were extremely excited to use special olive oil that a friend brought us from Spain. With our limited knowledge of Spanish, we've discerned that it's from Sierra de Cazorla, where one-third of the municipal land contains olive trees. It's amazing for vinaigrettes and drizzling, less so for cooking hot food. We can't wait to use it for the rest of summer, which we plan to embrace both emotionally and through food in the coming weeks.

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
6 oz. grape tomatoes
3 oz. goat cheese
6-8 oz. mixed greens

3/4 cup olive oil
juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, the 1/3 cup olive oil, and the kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Pour over asparagus in a baking dish, and let sit for about 15 minutes while you preheat the grill. (If you don't have a grill, you can preheat your oven to 375 and roast them for about 20-30 minutes). Grill asparagus for about 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Arrange mixed greens on a plate, and divide asparagus, tomatoes and goat cheese among plates. Whisk together dressing ingredients, pour dressing over the salad plates, and serve.