Springtime Vegetable Joy: Asparagus!

Add one more reason to the long list of things to be grateful for from the Mediterranean: asparagus!

That’s right – it once grew wild there and was known as “sparrow grass.” But by any name, it is undisputedly in my list of Top Ten Vegetables. Its earthy goodness is one of the very best things about spring – right up there with Young Love and Tulips!

Kalyn of kalynskitchen food blog fame recently posted a delicious and simple way to cook asparagus with only three ingredients: asparagus, lemon and olive oil. This inspired me to keep it simple and let the asparagus shine. I love bread crumb crusted asparagus, but it is very time intensive, so I came up with a great solution: roast the asparagus to its ultimate deliciousness and then garnish with bread crumbs and Parmesan. You MUST try this recipe to believe me.

ROASTED ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH PARMESAN CRUMB GARNISH

2 pounds asparagus, cut in 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
A little olive oil spray
Salt and pepper as desired
1 red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch pieces
1 bunch thin green onions, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
1 cup garlic or Caesar croutons, crushed
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss asparagus with garlic and spread on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Spray with a little oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at top of oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in green onions and bell peppers. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until all vegetables are softened and lightly browned. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and place in serving bowl.

Stir together the crouton crumbs and Parmesan cheese and sprinkle over asparagus salad. Serve warm, with extra crumb mixture for diners to add additional crumb mixture as desired.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

— posted by Donna

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