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Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

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The first local veggie of the season! It’s here! Green things!

Asparagus is interesting. Barbara Kingsolver dedicates an entire chapter to praising these spears in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (my favorite book). A few fun facts about this slender gentleman:

-Asparagus is a member of the Lily family
-About a year after planting, a tiny asparagus seed has developed long, tubular roots and is then called a “crown”
-The crowns are transplanted to fields and are not harvested for the first 3 years, allowing the crowns to develop a strong, fibrous root system
-Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10 inches in 24 hours
-Each crown will send up spears for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer
-After harvesting is done, the spears will grow into soaring ferns which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season
-Well cared for asparagus will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted
-Freshly harvested asparagus should have tight heads and no split or cracked bottoms
-Asparagus bends away from the direction of gravity, so store spears standing upright to prevent curving
-Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, thiamin, and vitamins B6, A and C

Nature delivered something perfect, so honest preparation is in order. This is a simple and delicious recipe to honor the first gift of the season.

Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

1 pound asparagus, woody ends snapped off
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese or shaved Parmigiano Reg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt.
  3. Arrange asparagus on a platter and top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

*You could also toss the veggies with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, and garlic and roast them at 400F until tender – toss with balsamic and sprinkle with cheese after cooking

More → Sides , Veggies

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