In the kitchen with chef Chris Cina: Asparagus and blood orange salad

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Chris Cina
In this week's Chef and Tell interview with Chris Cina, executive chef of Hideaway Steakhouse, the self-described "goof" talks about his biggest cooking disaster (he made a bride spill tears -- but not on purpose); the culinary wizardry of Troy Guard; his addiction to acid; and the trials and tribulations of opening a new restaurant.

Cina is also a photographer (that stunning photo up top is his), and he often posts his photos, along with recipes (most of which benefit from the use of local ingredients), on his personal blog. One of his favorite recipes is a Colorado asparagus and blood orange salad, which he's offered to share with us. "I chose this recipe, because Colorado asparagus is beautiful and in abundance right now, plus it's a simple salad that takes next to no time or skill to prepare and it's definitely a crowd pleaser," says Cine, who strongly recommends that you use freshly cracked black pepper: "As with all spices, grinding your own pepper yields better flavor and you can keep smaller amounts in your pantry."

Asparagus and blood orange salad
Serves 4

1 pound asparagus, preferably from Colorado, ends trimmed
2 blood oranges, segmented and juiced
½ cup filberts, toasted and chopped
½ cup fresh tarragon leaves
4 ounces olive oil, plus 1ounce for grilling
4 ounces goat cheese
Fleur de sel to finish
Cracked black pepper to finish

Directions

1. Brush the asparagus with the 1 ounce of olive oil and grill just until the asparagus begins to soften and char, about 2 minutes.
2. Portion the asparagus equally over four plates.
3. Garnish each of the four plates, equally, with the remaining ingredients as they are listed and season each plate with fleur de sel and cracked black pepper.
4. Serve immediately.

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