Saturday, March 13, 2010

Asparagus! My Dear Friend!

I love asparagus; especially the fresh, emerald green spears. There is something quite therapeutic about finding the breaking point, where woodiness and tender stem meet, and then snapping!

Asparagus is sort of like the king of veggies as it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, niacin (which plays an important metabolic role in living cells and is involved in the repair of DNA) and folic acid (our bodies require folic acid to help produce red blood cells and has even been linked to preventing cancer).

Asparagus is extremely versatile and easy to prepare. My best is cooking the asparagus in the tiniest amount of water, until the colour pops and the stems are still crunchy - squeezing over some lemon juice and sprinkling with salt and pepper. This is so simple to do and is a great accompaniment to anything, such as lamb chops and chicken breasts.

Rosemary encrusted lamb chop with crunchy carrots and asparagus
Because I am all about the simplicity of food - the lamb chops are equally as simple to make
    • Set the oven to grill on about 200 degrees celsius
    • Sprinkle the chops with a generous amount of dried rosemary and herbal salt
    • There is no need for extra oil
    • Grill in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the rind has crisped up, but the meat is still moist
    • Squeeze over lemon juice
    • And serve with al dente carrots and asparagus
Another quick and easy lunch or no-fuss dinner is my:

Zesty Lemon and Asparagus Pasta:

    • Maize, rice or any other gluten free pasta (I have used spinach and maize pasta)
    • Willow Creek lemon infused olive oil
    • Tender stem asparagus
    • Juice and zest of a lemon
    • Pine nuts
    • Salt and pepper
    • Cook the pasta as directed, rinse and drain
    • Cook the asparagus in a little water for 5 minutes, until al dente and then drain and cut into pieces
    • Zest a lemon
    • Add the asparagus pieces to a pan with a little lemon infused olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and pine nuts
    • Fry for 2 minutes until the flavours infuse
    • Toss in the pasta and coat it with the ingredients
    • Serve

Zesty Lemon and Asparagus Pasta

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