Springtime is the best time for asparagus.
This vegetable has been enjoyed for years. In fact, there is a recipe for asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes from the third century.
This low-calorie veggie is good for so many reasons; it’s high in a number of vitamins, low in sodium and a good source of fiber.
Popularity waned in the Middle Ages but asparagus gained popularity again by the seventeenth century.
It can be prepared in numerous ways. In Asian-style cooking, asparagus is often used in stir fry. Cantonese restaurants in the United States stir fry it with chicken, shrimp or beef and wrapped in bacon.
There are so many way to prepare this green-stemmed veggie: grilled, in a soup or simply sautéed. Asparagus can also be pickled and stored for several years.
With so many options, we’re not focusing on just one recipe this week. Here are a few favorites to try as side dishes to dinner tonight.
Asparagus with prosciutto
1/4 cup butter
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir the prosciutto, garlic and pine nuts in the melted butter until the garlic is fragrant and the nuts begin to turn brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.
2. Bring a pot filled with lightly salted water to boil. Gently boil the asparagus until the bright green and barely tender, about 3 minutes; drain. Add the asparagus to the prosciutto mixture and toss to mix evenly. Season with salt and pepper; serve hot.
Baked balsamic asparagus
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.
2 seedless oranges
5 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds asparagus spears
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2-2 tsp. tarragon leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. From one orange and one lemon, cut 1/8 by 2-inch strips, being careful not to cut into the bitter white pith. Set aside. 3. From the same orange and lemon squeeze a total of 2 tablespoons juice; set aside.
4. Thinly slice remaining orange and lemon; drizzle slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper; set aside.
5. Wash asparagus; break off woody bases at the point where the spear easily bends. Place spears in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with garlic, tarragon, and citrus strips. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat spears. Spread in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.
6. Roast asparagus and citrus slices 12-15 minutes, turning once or twice with tongs, until asparagus is tender and citrus begins to brown. Transfer to a serving platter.
7. Meanwhile, for vinaigrette, in small dish whisk together reserved juices and remaining 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over roasted asparagus, citrus, and garlic. Sprinkle with roasted citrus slices. Serve warm.