The New Best Recipe
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1 by 1/4 inch strips
1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces
Salt and ground black pepper
1 medium shallot, sliced thin (or 3 tablespoons of minced red onion)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 medium garlic clove, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
6 ounces baby spinach (about 8 cups)
4 ounces goat cheese, cut into small chunks
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke; add the bell pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes, stirring only once after 1 minute. Add the asparagus, 1/4 teaspoon slat, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cook until the asparagus is browned and almost tender, about 2 minutes, stirring only once after 1 minute. Stir in the shallot and cook until softened and the asparagus is tender-crisp, about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large plate and cool 5 minutes.
While the asparagus mixture is cooling, whisk the remaining 4 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon slat, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper together in a medium bowl until combined (or put it all in a small jar, seal with a lid, and shake it all up). In a large bowl, toss the spinach with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and divide the spinach among salad plates. Toss the asparagus mixture with the remaining dressing and place a portion of it over the spinach; divide the goat cheese (if using) among the salads and serve.