Saturday, March 21, 2015

Asparagus-A Spring Vegetable Star

Whether it's grilled, roasted, or baked, asparagus is a refreshing way to add flavor and nutrients to any meal. And with so many ways to prepare asparagus, the variety of recipes seems endless. The tender veggie adds sophistication as a side dish, an appetizer, or part of your main course. 

This week's Spring feature: Asparagus
This succulent, savory vegetable contains a stimulating blend of nutrients, making this a fantastic food for your health.

  • Asparagus is a good source of fiber and protein, both essential for good digestion and immunity.
  • It contains a number of anti-inflammatory compounds that protect you from type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • It has antioxidants, including one called glutathione, which is known to protect the skin from sun damage, pollution and the effects of aging.
  • The Vitamin K in asparagus is excellent for healthy blood clotting and strengthening bones.
  • Asparagus contains a unique carb called inulin, which remains undigested until it reaches the large intestine, where it helps to absorb nutrients better, and cut the risk of colon cancer.
  • Good news for those struggling to manage their blood sugar: asparagus is a rich source of B vitamins, which are known to regulate blood sugar levels.
Cook's Notes: This recipe comes from JoAnne.
The freshness of the asparagus and the smokiness of the bacon makes this side dish so appetizing and delicious. This asparagus dish was prepared on the grill but you could use the oven to make the dish.  
Directions in her words...
  • Wrap asparagus spear in half strip of bacon, grill till bacon done and then squeeze lemon over it all when plated. The lemon combined with the bacon makes a surprising sweet caramel like taste.  If using the larger asparagus I suggest blanching before grilling. I used the skinny stalks so bundled them in threes with the bacon wrap and did not blanch first.

Salmon Asparagus Salad with Orzo and a Lemon Dill Vinaigrette
recipe from Cooking Light
Cook's notes: This savory salad epitomizes the concept of fresh food fast. It's quick, easy and loaded with flavorful ingredients..
Serves 4.
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 (1- 1/4-pound) skinless salmon fillet
  • 1/4 tsp.salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  •  1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette
  • Preheat broiler
  • Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add asparagus; cook 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus from water with tongs or a slotted spoon, reserving water in pan. Plunge asparagus into ice water; drain and set aside.
  • Return reserved water to a boil. Add orzo, and cook according to package directions. 
  • While orzo cooks, sprinkle fillet evenly with salt and pepper. Add two lemon slices and a drizzle of butter over the fillet. Place on a foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Using 2 forks, break fish into large chunks. Combine fish, orzo, asparagus, onion, and Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.
Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup (1.3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 TB. chopped fresh dill
  • 3 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp.freshly ground black pepper
  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

1 comment:

  1. Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies. So thank you for the recipes.