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Adlen Robinson: Cool ways to cook asparagus
ASPARAGUS

Nothing says spring like tender, fresh asparagus. Did you know asparagus are a member of the Lily family? Besides being delicious, asparagus are an excellent source of folate and vitamin C — in addition, they are low in sodium, fat and calories. Here are some of my favorite asparagus recipes. Happy spring!

 

Cream of asparagus soup

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons chives, minced

1 tablespoon dill, minced

2 tablespoons sour cream

 

Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook a minute. Add asparagus, salt and pepper and saute for four to five minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer, cooking until asparagus are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in the pot. Alternatively, transfer mixture to blender and puree — just be careful not to burn yourself. Return to pot. Add cream and heat over medium-high heat. Taste for seasoning. 

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chives, dill and a dollop of sour cream.

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Roasted asparagus with lemon and parmesan

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup shaved parmesan

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss asparagus spears with olive oil and place on rimmed sheet pan. Roast asparagus until crisp tender, about 12-15 minutes. 

Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper and toss with shaved parmesan.

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Asparagus, spinach and feta quiche

 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

8 asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cups baby spinach

5 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup half and half

3/4 cup feta, crumbled

1/4 cup mozzarella, grated

4 green onions, minced

1 pie crust, store bought or homemade

 

Place pie crust onto pie plate and place in the freezer while you proceed with the recipe. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil over medium-high heat. 

Cook asparagus and spinach until spinach is wilted, three minutes. Place spinach in a small colander and press as much liquid out of the spinach as possible. 

Remove pie crust from freezer. Place asparagus pieces, spinach, and green onions on pie crust. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, half and half until combined. Add cheeses, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetables. Bake quiche for 45 minutes until set. Let sit at room temperature on a rack for 10 minutes or so before serving.

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Asparagus salad

 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into shreds

2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves

1/2 cup red bell pepper, minced

1/3 cup shaved parmesan

 

In boiling water, cook asparagus until crisp tender, about four minutes. Drain and dry on dish towel. In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar over medium heat. Cook until balsamic has reduced by half, about three to four minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. 

Whisk together reduced vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, salt and pepper. In a serving bowl, toss together dried asparagus pieces, basil, cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper. Pour balsamic dressing on top and toss to combine. Garnish with shaved parmesan.

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I absolutely love Hollandaise sauce. While not a low-calorie dish, indulging in this rich, creamy, delectable sauce once in a while is a real treat. I love Hollandaise sauce on eggs Benedict, but it is also delicious on steamed asparagus. The real trick is to have all of the ingredients at the ready and have the other components of what you are serving it with ready to go. That way, you can give the hollandaise sauce your complete attention.

 

Hollandaise sauce

 4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Pinch cayenne

Pinch salt

 

In a stainless-steel bowl, whisk together yolks and lemon juice until doubled in volume. Place bowl over simmering water, not letting the bottom of the bowl touch the water or else the eggs will scramble. Whisking rapidly, slowly drizzle in melted butter until thickened and doubled in volume. Whisk in a few drops of warm water if too thick. Add pinch of cayenne and salt.