Friday, October 11, 2013

Roasted Asparagus with Pine Nuts

There is a finite amount of vegetables to choose from where I live, Finding creative ways to make “ole’ timers” such as asparagus just a little different is one way to WOW your guest ever time.
I especially like to serve roasted asparagus for many reasons. One is the pretty green color really pops on a buffet table, especially if served on a white platter. Two is asparagus cooks quickly, usually in 8 to 15 minutes. Three is the availability and the price.
This is one of my favorites. Since we do not have a problem with anything other than gluten, I add toasted pine nuts to many dishes. A few add, just as in this recipe, provide a nice crunch while the salt simply enhances the flavor. From start to finish, this jewel of a recipe is complete in less than 20 minutes.

You may notice I used toasted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, thus eliminating an additional allergen. Otherwise, the process is essentially the same; the results just as fabulous!

Here is my recipe:
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, large
2 tablespoons sweet onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/8 teaspoon salt to taste, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Here is how I put this recipe together:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Cut the tough ends off asparagus. Toss asparagus with chopped sweet onion and oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

3. Place asparagus in a single layer on a heavy-duty aluminum baking sheet. Roast asparagus turning two times during the cooking process until the asparagus is tender and browned which takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Because the asparagus can go from a toasted brown to a burned color very quickly, it is important to keep a close check on the progress of the asparagus while it cooks.

4. While asparagus cooks, place vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until balsamic vinegar is slightly syrupy or reduced to approximately 1 tablespoon. This process takes about 5 to7 minutes.

5. To serve, place asparagus spears on platter. Drizzle with reduced balsamic vinegar and then sprinkle with pine nuts.

Servings: 6

Oven Temperature: 350°F

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Nutrition (per serving): 111 calories, 73 calories from fat, 8.5 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 150.4 mg sodium, 279.5 mg potassium, 7.3 g carbohydrates, 2.7 g fiber, 4.1 g sugar, 3.4 g protein.

Author: Dr. Jacquelyn P. Horne
Copyright: 2013

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