Monday, April 11, 2016

Rosie Takes Advantage Of Her Garden Asparagus.

Rosie writes food articles for several publications on the Outer Banks.  This just appeared in the latest issue of Albemarle Tradewinds.

I love spring.  My garden is finally coming alive again.  It's been chugging throughout the winter, though I always have something blooming somewhere, but now it's coming out in full force.

Every year, I look forward to the return of the ospreys and the appearance of my asparagus.  That way I know it's spring regardless of what the calendar says.  Calendars really don't mean anything down here.  It's April and the temperatures were 76 one day, then in the thirties the next.

My first preparation of asparagus is with a gremolata. Gremolata, in case you didn't know, is a fresh herbal concoction combining garlic, parsley, and lemon zest, traditionally served with osso bucco, a classic Italian veal dish.  It's herbalicious goodness at its best.


Sautéed Asparagus with Almond Gremolata

2 TB almonds, toasted and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 TB fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

½ pound asparagus, trimmed
2 TB unsalted butter.

Combine first eleven ingredients in small bowl.  Sauté asparagus in unsalted butter over medium high heat until crisp tender.  Spoon gremolata over asparagus and enjoy.

Whenever we think of pesto, we think of the ubiquitous basil and pine nut pesto.  I like to push the the nut and herb concept a bit and go for different, unexpected flavors.

Asparagus with Pistachio and Mint Pesto

For the pesto:
¼ cup pistachios, toasted
1 small garlic clove, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ cup fresh mint leaves, packed
⅓ cup of your favorite extra virgin olive oil

Rosie’s Note:  I like to pack flavor into whatever I’m preparing, so for my olive oil, I’m using a Lemon-Infused Oil from Outer Banks Olive Oil Company, located in Mile Post 6 Plaza, next to Chip's Wine and Beer, and also in Duck.

For the asparagus:
½ pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 TB Lemon-infused olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper.

Heat oven to 425°.

In a dry skillet, toast the pistachios for about 2 minutes over medium heat – until fragrant.  Set aside and let cool.
In a processor, pulse the pistachios, garlic, zest, salt, pepper, and mint until you get a thick paste.  With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil.

Toss the asparagus on a baking sheet  with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast asparagus at 425° for about 8 minutes, until crisp-tender.  Toss with pesto and serve.

Please enjoy!

No doubt, more asparagus recipes will coming your way soon.  Gotta strike while the iron's hot!

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