Thursday, February 5, 2009

Three Great Uses for Sale Asparagus

Well, in case you didn't hear it already, the groundhog gave us some bad news this week. Six more weeks of winter are yet to come, and as my good friend Lori would say, "What a BUST!" It's getting old, don't yah' think? The bundling up, the salty streets, dirty cars, and filthy snow are here to stay - at least temporarily, that is. BAH!

Today I'm thumbing my nose at winter with three great recipes for asparagus, a favorite vegetable of mine, as well as a harbinger of spring and the warm weather that (someday) will arrive. And besides the fact that it's on special this week for $1.49 a pound, what better reason do you need?
The first two recipes are simple sides that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes. Both are great for those nights that you're in a hurry to get dinner on the table, and either would be terrific served with most anything....a rotisserie chicken from the deli, for instance, or alongside a prepared meatloaf (on special this week) from the meat department.

The third recipe, and more of a main dish, is for a Simple Strata with Asparagus & Cream Cheese. Rich with creamy, melty cheese and crispy bread on top....mercy, it's good. This strata would be equally great for either dinner (with a green salad and some rolls) or Sunday brunch (with a fresh fruit salad and some muffins from the bakery).

It goes without saying, because by now you should know -- these recipes of course incorporate several items that are featured in the Sale Ad this week. You'll just have to suffer through reading all the way down to find out what they are. I know, the suspense is killing you, right?(Hint: all sale items are highlighted in GREEN.)
#1) (and the utmost in simplicity; I'm almost embarrassed to call this a 'recipe'):
Simple Roasted Asparagus
Serves: 4
1-2 pounds of asparagus, trimmed
1-2 T. good olive oil (please use good olive oil. please.)
coarse salt and black pepper to taste

Fire up the oven to 475. Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with foil. Place the asparagus on the cookie sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and season liberally with salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 8-12 minutes, or until the spears can be pierced with gentle pressure from a fork. Transfer to a platter and serve.
#2) Roasted Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes and Asparagus with Parmesan
Serves: 4
Source: Epicurious

1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" piece
1 lb. baby Yukon Gold potatoes (this is about 5-7 larger babies)
3 T. good olive oil (I already asked nicely)
1/3 c. grated Sendik's Brand Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 450. Toss together the asparagus, potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a large, shallow baking pan, spreading evenly.

(I'm going to pause here to tell you that spacing is important, because if your veggies are crowded, they will steam and not roast. Give them their space, for goodness sakes!)

Roast for 20 minutes; stir them around, and continue to roast for another 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle with cheese and roast until cheese is melted and golden in spots, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a pretty bowl (if that's your thing) and serve!

#3) Simple Strata with Asparagus & Cream Cheese
Adapted from this recipe
Serves: 4

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
6 eggs
1 1/4 c. milk
4 T. butter
1 small onion, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 slices Sendiks Brand Artisan Filone Bread, cubed
8 t. (or so, you can adjust this to taste) Whipped Chive Cream Cheese

You'll need an oven-safe non-stick skillet for this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the asparagus in a microwave safe bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and cover tightly. Microwave for a minute or until bright green. Drain well. Whisk the eggs, milk, and salt and pepper in a bowl, set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Swirl the butter to coat the pan; add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bread and onion are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; top with asparagus and pour egg mixture over. Drop the cream cheese onto the egg mixture in generous dollops. Bake until the bread on top begins to crisp, the top is puffed, and center is set, about 20 minutes. Slice into wedges and serve.
I'll leave you with this:

I love this picture!!

1 comment:

My Carolina Kitchen said...

These recipes sound fabulous and easy. Asparagus is one of my favorites. Your photos are gorgeous.

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