Q: What’s green and finally cheaper than a gallon of gas?
A: A pound of asparagus!
Asparagus is one of my favorite green things, next to avocados and money. I’ll gladly take a big helping of asparagus piping-hot from the oven, roasted with garlic and red-pepper infused oil or baked in a lovely tart with romano and gruyere. I’ve been known to eat it and nothing else for lunch and dinner… and then lunch again the next day.
For springtime get togethers, I like to answer my call to side-dish duty with an asparagus salad. Incredibly fresh and bright (and light!), it comes together with olive oil flavored with lemon zest, sea salt, pepper, and and a heaping serving of goat cheese crumbled over the top.
Lemony Asparagus Salad with Goat Cheese
Tender-crisp asparagus and goat cheese with a lemon dressing.
1 lb asparagus
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
Blanch the asparagus: Bring a medium pot or sauce pan of water to boil. Prepare a bowl of ice and water to shock the asparagus after cooking.
Trim the woody ends off of the bunch of asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
Add the asparagus to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the asparagus from the pan and place into the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and cool the asparagus.
Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl.
Add the asparagus and goat cheese and toss with tongs until well coated with the lemony oil.
I did it again. I was over-zealous in my produce purchase last week, falling victim to yet another 2-for-1 sale. And by victim, I mean “sucker.” Two pounds of asparagus and only one mouth. (but at least it’s a big one!). I get excited over vegetables – a completely foreign concept to some. ::Cough:: My husband ::Cough::
My kitchen has been very quiet lately. It’s hard to get moving in the kitchen when you’re covered in dry wall dust and paint. Luckily, those two projects should be done soon and then we’ll be on to the next big thing in a few of months. The good news is “the next big thing” involves me getting a whole new kitchen! Goodbye secluded 1970’s galley kitchen, hello 21st century open floor plans! The bad news is we’ll probably live on cereal and Hot Pockets for a couple of weeks But anyway – back to asparagus, my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by its founder, Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.
My favorite way to eat asparagus is to oven-roast it with olive oil that has been heated with red pepper flakes and garlic or toss it with a spoonful of pesto and then roast. Yum! I didn’t think I could get tired of it – but then I ate it as a side dish to dinner and lunch for three days straight and forced myself to move on.
A recipe for Asparagus Ribbons with Lemon and Goat Cheese in the latest issue of Cooking Light more than caught my eye this morning – it suckered me in. Absolutely starving with veggie peeler in hand, I made three “ribbons” and quit. I was just too hungry and too busy to devote that much time ribbon-izing asparagus for lunch. There’s always dinner!
Pasta with Asparagus, Roasted Red Peppers, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
A quick pasta toss made with fridge and pantry staples.
8 oz rigatoni, cooked and drained*
3 Tbsp olive oil
8 stalks asparagus, cut to pasta length
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
Heat the oil over med-high heat and add asparagus and red pepper flakes.
Saute for 5 minutes, until asparagus just begins to brown a bit. Turn the heat down to low and add sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, and the garlic.
Once the garlic begins to brown, remove from heat.
Toss with cooked pasta and divide between two bowls. Top with feta and serve.
Thanks to Chris and her Deep Freeze Summer Challenge, I’ve been inspired to dig around the deep, dark recesses of my freezer for ingredients to build dinner around. All that money sitting in my freezer, ignored (why hello there, long-forgotten overpriced veal shanks). It’s a good thing, too, because I’ve been so slammin’ busy with work that I haven’t had any time to grocery shop. So if it’s not in the freezer, pantry, or fridge, it ain’t going in dinner.
I found lots of goodies but the puff pastry beat everything out. I can’t remember when I bought it or why and I didn’t bother looking for an expiration date. It was less than 10 minutes from freezer to the oven (I quick-thawed the pastry in the microwave) and I was sitting in front of the TV with dinner less than 30 minutes after closing the freezer door.
Quick Asparagus Tart
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
12 stalks asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/8 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch of red pepper flake
Parmiggiano-Reggiano, freshly grated (optional)
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut puff pastry in half and place on a lined baking sheet. Heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium heat until fragrant – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and brush the puff pastry sheets with the olive oil. Arrange asparagus stalks on the pastry and brush with olive oil. Scatter garlic and pepper pieces over the pastry and bake for about 13 minutes, until dough is golden brown and done.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese, if using. If not, lightly salt and enjoy!
Yields 2 tarts.
* I didn’t use salt and cheese – the cheese adds a bit of saltiness on its own.
I just love Weekend Herb Blogging – it has inspired me to plant more than just sage and basil in my herb garden this year. I liked the idea of planting more herbs but I really wasn’t that sure what I’d do with them. That’s where WHB comes in – whether I participate or not, the weekly blog roundups contain an amazing myriad of recipes and ideas. So when we broke ground on the garden, we planted thyme, cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, chives, basil, sage, and rosemary. That’ll keep me busy! Continue Reading…