Gourmet Asparagus!

From Basic to Gourmet with One Easy Addition!

Asparagus brings back great memories of my childhood.  My mom was a high school English and Drama teacher in an rural Northwest high school, and many of her students worked in the fields before school (the movie McFarland captured a bit of the flavor of her experience. Minus the sports.)  Sometimes the students would bring her a brown paper bag of freshly cut “grass,” as they called asparagus.  And we would feast!  What we couldn’t eat that week, we blanched and froze for later.  (In fact, I like to brag to my kids that I am so tough that I even helped freeze asparagus on the day I had my wisdom teeth removed!)
Roasting asparagus is my default preparation method, and this addition makes a reliable side dish go from wonderful to fantastic with one easy addition!  If you haven’t discovered fennel, this is a great recipe to give it a try.  It has a distinctive, yet complementary taste.  (And I love to include raw fennel in salads!)

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Roasted Asparagus with Fennel

You’ll Need:

  • 2 bunches organic asparagus
  • 2 small or 1 large organic fennel bulbs
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP butter or olive oil
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • chopped fennel leaves, for garnish
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Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Wash and pat dry the asparagus
  • Hold each stem close to the cut end, and snap off the ends.  This will prevent getting any tough ends
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  • Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil, and toss gently to coat (I do this by hand, sort of rubbing the olive oil around the asparagus)
  • Sprinkle with the salt and pepper
  • Roast in the oven for about 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus.  It should be tender-crisp
  • Meanwhile, wash, trim, and thinly slice the fennel bulbs

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  • Heat the butter or olive oil to medium low in the skillet
  • Add the fennel, and stir frequently until tender.  The heat should be low enough that the fennel will not brown before it is tender.  It should be just slightly browned
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  • Taste and season with salt
  • When the asparagus is ready, remove from the oven and arrange on a serving plate
  • Spoon the fennel onto the top of the asparagus, sprinkle with the chopped fennel leaves, and serve!
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You’ll be amazed at how just a little fennel adds so much class to a basic vegetable!

Love,
Lassen’s

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