Dinner Tonight: Spring Asparagus

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asparagusAlthough you can get asparagus all year round, there is no comparison to the taste of fresh, seasonal asparagus. For me it is one of the first signs of what spring and summer produce has to offer.

Asparagus is a nutrient dense powerhouse. It is low in calories, high in fiber, and provides over half of the RDA of vitamin K in each serving. It is also a rich source of vitamin A, the B vitamins (especially folate), and vitamin C. Last but not least, asparagus is an excellent source of numerous health-promoting antioxidants, including phenolics and flavonoids.

Although you can use asparagus in soups, stews, quiches and numerous other dishes, I prefer it as simple as possible… especially this time of year. This easy and very quick side is a perfect accompaniment to fish or chicken.

Spring Asparagus

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, grated
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb fresh green asparagus, trimmed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

To trim the asparagus, bend the asparagus and it will naturally break where the tender part (near the tip) and the woody part meet. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except asparagus. Add asparagus and stir to coat with vinaigrette.

Place coated asparagus on large cookie sheet; pour remaining vinaigrette on top.

Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, until asparagus is tender.

This can easily be turned into a salad, as well. Roast the asparagus alone, let it cool, and then pour the dressing on top.

 Photo from here, with thanks.

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March 2015
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