Asparagus with New Potatoes & Lemon
Asparagus, new potatoes & lemon - an easy recipe
This lovely asparagus dish is a meat free meal that I often used to make when I lived in England.
The combination of the fresh asparagus, combined with lovely new potatoes, sweet peppers and tangy lemon juice is so tasty, healthy and has the bonus of being quick and easy to make. In the UK, this was a springtime and early summer dish because at that time, this lovely vegetable is in season and new potatoes are just appearing in the markets.
Now that I'm in Florida, it's great at any time of year whenever asparagus is available. I do like to cook according to the seasons though because using ingredients that haven't had to travel far to get to the grocery store is much more planet-friendly.We had this last night and we enjoyed some lovely Italian bread with it - it's handy to have a little bread to mop up the lovely lemon-flavored buttery juices!
Photograph © BritFlorida.
Eight simple ingredients
Here's what I used for two people
- 6 - 8 oz asparagus
- 6 - 8 new potatoes
- 1 small sweet red pepper
- ½ lemon
- 1 small piece of blue cheese - 1 - 2 oz
- A small knob of butter - about the same amount as the cheese
- Approximately 1 heaped tablespoon sunflower seeds and mixed chopped nuts
- Few sprigs of fresh oregano
Put a pan of water on to boil. Whilst it's boiling, clean and prepare the potatoes by cutting them into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the boiling water and then turn down the heat a little. They will take about ten minutes or so.
Slice the bottoms off the asparagus and clean away those little - I know there's a proper name but I can't remember it - triangular bits on the stalks. Slice the asparagus into pieces roughly an inch long.
Remove any seeds from the pepper and cut into slices.
There are two things that annoy me when I'm cooking and this simple but ingenious pan solves both. The first is that it's impossible to strain water out of pans without using a colander which just adds another item to the dishes that need to be washed and dried. The other thing (which I think is gross) is cleaning out the drain cover in the kitchen sink because it always has unidentified bits of food in it. Voila! Problems solved!
By now, the potatoes will be cooked so add the peppers to the pan. After a minute or so, turn the heat down and almost drain out the water; leave about half an inch in the bottom. Add the asparagus and put a lid on the pan. This means that the it will steam, rather than boil. The cooking time depended on two things - how you like it and how thick the stalks are. We enjoy it when it still has plenty of crunch. Around three or four minutes is about right for us but the best way is to taste it to see.
ADD OREGANO LEAVES
Add the fresh oregano and stir in. Strain out the water and remove the pan from the heat, keeping the lid on to keep the vegetables warm.
While the vegetables are cooking, melt the butter in a small pan. Add a little lemon zest (simply use a fine grater on the lemon peel. Break up the blue cheese into small pieces and with the pan on a low heat, stir this in until it's melted. I add a little chopped oregano too.
Toss the nuts and seeds into the vegetables. Add the juice of the ½ lemon and stir. Drain the vegetables and finally, add the butter / blue cheese sauce, toss lightly and serve
Further reading - seasonal cooking
Cooking foods when they are in season makes so much sense. Seasonal foods are less expensive, tastier and even more planet-friendly as they don't need to be transported from thousands of miles away. In recent years, we have become accustomed to finding almost everything in our supermarkets, year round. This takes away the fun of food! To me, if a food is available all year, it takes away its special value when the season starts. You'll find inspiration below!
My life would have been so much easier if these had been around when I lived in England. The area around Evesham is well-known for its asparagus growing and when I spent a spell living in that area, the season was a wonderful annual treat (they even have an annual asparagus festival there.) My problem with cooking it - and many people have the same issue - is that the tips are so very delicate and need very careful handling. These cookers can be used for cooking so many other items - they are useful in the kitchen often - but for delicate asparagus, they are ideal.
Oh I nearly forgot our new chopping board!
If you're a regular reader of my recipes, and if you're very eagled-eyed, you might have noticed that our photographs no longer feature our battered old chopping board. We now have an extremely smart Mario Batali board. I'd been holding back on getting a new one but then I read that Mario Batali is very pro-planet and his products focus heavily on sustainability. That did it for me!
Try this delicious recipe too
- Roasted Asparagus Croissants with Parmesan
This is a lovely recipe that is so quick and easy to make which makes it perfect when you're looking for an easy but delicious meat free meal. But these are also elegant morsels so ideal for guests.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson