Simple Asparagus Recipe
As you know, one way to significantly reduce your grocery bill each month is to create your menu plans around produce that is currently in season for your area. This is a bit trickier when you can buy cantaloupe in December, squash in July, and strawberries in February. Crazy.
Keep in mind that “in season” and “available” are two totally different ideas. Most produce sold in the U.S. has traveled an average of 1,500 miles before hitting grocery stores. In order to accomplish this, growers pick the fruit before it’s technically ripe, making it easier to ship. Of course, some produce (like celery or bananas or potatoes) manages to combine quality and availability year-round.
However, in general it makes the most sense to buy your fruits & vegetables when they are in season. When produce is truly in season, it will be higher in nutritional value, often local, noticeably fresh, easily found, and competitively priced.
If you’re not familiar with the seasonal produce in your area, check out some of these sites:
- Natural Resources Defense Council — organized by state & season
- About.com : Local Food — produce organized alphabetically for the Pacific NW
- Seasonal Cornucopia — monthly resource for those of you in the Puget Sound area
- Local Harvest — listings of local farms & markets by state
As spring approaches, the produce section starts to get interesting again! Right now that means buying bunches of those beautiful asparagus spears when you find them on sale. They’ll be at their peak through May. Wait for a good price (around $1-$1.75/lb), add it to your grocery cart, and plan to include this great side dish to your spring recipe rotation. It’s ridiculously fast and easy to prepare and delicious to eat.
Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic-Butter Sauce
olive oil salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. butter
2 t. soy sauce
1 t. balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
- Arrange the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Coat lightly with olive oil and season with salt & pepper (I just toss it together with my hands– a bit messy but much easier).
- Bake the asparagus for 10-12 minutes or until tender.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.
* Hold each asparagus spear between your fingers and snap off 1-2″ from the base. The spear will naturally break at the point where it becomes tough. Discard tough ends.
These Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker’s sheet pans are some of the most versatile tools in the kitchen. It’s my favorite for roasting asparagus, baking large batches of bar cookies and roasting almonds.
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