If I can be honest: I F#!&*ING hate asparagus. I hate the smell after it’s cooked, I hate the taste, I hate (almost) everything about it. I wouldn’t eat it. Nope. Never.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t cook it. I actually will admit that it can look pretty, and it can also look pretty delicious, too. And food is love, and I love (some) people. And some of the people I love also happen to love asparagus. For example, my husband, my mother, etc. So. There you have it. I make asparagus.
It’s also brainless to make an awesome side-dish out of asparagus. You can do basically nothing to it, roast it in olive oil and salt/pepper and it’ll be awesome (if you like asparagus). Which means it’s quick. Which means it can be last minute.
See where I’m going with this?
It can be thrown together at the LITERAL last minute!
The basic fact is that asparagus is also pretty good for you. According to livescience.com:
High in vitamin K and folate, asparagus is extremely well balanced, even among nutrient-rich vegetables. “Asparagus is high in anti-inflammatory nutrients as well as provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and the minerals zinc, manganese and selenium,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores.
Furthermore, the vegetable contains the amino acid asparagine, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that helps insulin do its job transporting glucose. It’s also especially rich in glutathione, a detoxifying compound that can help destroy carcinogens. For this reason, asparagus may help fight or protect against certain cancers, including bone, breast, lung and colon cancers.
It’s also low calorie, at around 20 calories per five stalks (or so). So really, if you keep the sauce and seasoning simple and not too crazy, you’re eating healthy. Or fairly so. This sauce has a ton of flavor, and using low-sodium soy sauce can work, too.
I still don’t like it.
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH BROWN BUTTER AND BALSAMIC SAUCE (adapted from myrecipes.com/David Bonom, CookingLight magazine, October 2001)
- 20 – 40 asparagus stalks, trimmed (yes really, anywhere in that general group of 1-2 lbs. is fine!)
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Toss asparagus with olive oil and roast on a cookie sheet, or do as I did and pour some olive oil over them in a baking dish and toss with tongs. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper to taste; bake for 12 – 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet or saucepan for 2 – 3 minutes on medium heat, or until it darkens a bit and becomes fragrant. Remove from heat.
- Whisk soy sauce and balsamic into butter. Remove asparagus from oven and drizzle sauce over it. Toss with tongs again and serve immediately.
In case you didn’t know, the proper way to store asparagus in the fridge is in a jar or glass of 1 – 2″ of water. Change the water every day. It won’t last forever- but much longer than without the water. It’s still best to use it as fresh as possible.
So buy it, roast it, and watch other people enjoy it. *wink*