Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Recipe for Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette

Over at Seriously Good, Kevin is having Asparagus Aspirations from now until the end of May, which is good because it tempts me to think of new ways to prepare asparagus, one of my favorite vegetables. Believe it or not, I can remember when I didn't like asparagus all that much. In recent years it seems I've found more and more good ways to prepare it. Since I've been writing this blog, I've posted the Perfect Way to Cook Asparagus (from Simply Recipes), Slow Roasted Asparagus, and Warm Salmon and Asparagus Salad.

On Saturday I picked up some Asparagus at Costco, and was thinking about how to cook it. I'd also gotten some tomatoes, something I splurge on once in a while when the tomatoes smell good. (If there's no smell, don't waste your money on store-bought tomatoes.) I had goat cheese and I was thinking I should make Summer Red and Yellow Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette. That got me thinking about basil vinaigrette, and how amazing it would taste on asparagus, and this recipe was born.

Lightly Steamed Asparagus with Basil Vinaigrette

(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 pound asparagus

Basil puree ingredients:
1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/2 cup olive oil
(Freeze the leftovers for another use. You could make half this much if you're short on basil.)

Basil vinaigrette ingredients:
6 T your favorite no-sugar vinaigrette dressing (I used Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing)
2 T basil puree

Because I'm trying to eat well on a teacher's budget, I like to trim off the woody ends of the asparagus, and then lightly peel the lower part of each stalk with a vegetable peeler. This allows you to use more of the asparagus than if you just break off the pieces. (You may still have to trim off some if the ends are very woody.)

After peeling, cut each spear into pieces about 2 inches long, cutting on the diagonal. Steam asparagus until barely tender, being careful not to overcook. (I used an electric steamer, which takes a few minutes to start steaming, and steamed it exactly 10 minutes total, probably only about 7 minutes if done on the stove.)

While asparagus steams, first combine fresh basil leaves and olive oil in food processor and process until basil is in very small pieces and fairly well integrated into olive oil. Remove puree, scraping sides of food processor. Then measure 6 T vinaigrette dressing and 2 T basil puree into food processor and pulse about one minute. (This can also be combined in a jar and shaken.)

To serve, drain asparagus well and arrange on plate. Drizzle Basil Vinaigrette over. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and enjoy.

This is a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet. I think it would taste great with Almond and Parmesan Baked Tilapia, Sauteed Scallops with Garlic, Janet's Mustard Chicken, Parmesan Chicken, Very Greek Grilled Chicken, or Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Capers and Sage.

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  1. This sounds really good kalyn, I'm bookmarking it!

  2. That looks delicious. I love asparagus.

  3. It looks so good. And who cares if it makes your pee smell funny. The taste of it is imcomparable.

  4. The asparagus in my fridge is just begging to be made into this tantalizing recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Ilva, tfp, nerissa, and Christine, do try making this. It was so delicious. Thanks for visiting.

  6. I love asparagus and what a great combo when tossed with basil.

    Thanks for sharing and have a great trip.


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