Monday, May 5

Roasted Asparagus with Feta Cheese

Asparagus is believed to have been cultivated for thousands of years.
It is native to Europe and Asia and is theorize that it grew wild near the sea in sand dunes.  I find it interesting that Asparagus is a member of the Lily family, which also includes onions, leeks and garlic.
Asparagus is a nutrient-dense food, high in Folic Acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
Asparagus also has No Fat, No Cholesterol and is low in Sodium. Yea!
I wasn’t always a fan of asparagus but have in recent years grown quite fond it.  And last week, while visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello I learned that asparagus was cultivated it in his gardens.

I have a small patch of asparagus in my garden but I also buy bundles of it when in season at the grocery store.
Good friends of ours invited us to dinner and served this as a side dish.  I immediately requested the recipe.  Thanks again Beth!
Following is the best recipe for asparagus I have ever used or tasted.  And if clean plates are an indication of good food, then this one always passes the test.

A "bundle" of asparagus

I use a whole bundle of asparagus (wrapped with a rubber band in the store); add extra garlic and sometimes substitute diced red bell pepper for the red pepper flakes. Extra cheese in any dish is always good so don't be afraid to add extra feta!

Roasted Asparagus with Feta Cheese

1 ¾ - 2 lbs fresh asparagus
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Diced red bell pepper (optional)
Kosher salt (to taste)
Ground black pepper to taste
1 - 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
4 - 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Juice of 1 lemon 

Making it is easy!

Preheat oven to 400F.
Heat olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a small pan over low heat until garlic becomes golden and oil becomes fragrant; remove from heat and allow to cool.

Saute garlic, red pepper flakes and spices

Slightly saute red bell pepper.  Set aside.
Bend asparagus gently until it breaks at a natural point near the ends.  Discard ends.
Toss asparagus pieces with infused olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet (one with a side edge).

Place asparagus in baking sheet

Season asparagus with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle asparagus with garlic and spices.

Sprinkle on the saute garlic

Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

Sprinkle on feta cheese

Top with saute diced red bell pepper.

Add red bell pepper

Roast at 400F for 12 minutes or until cooked to your liking.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the asparagus.
Serve hot.
There is only one problem with this dish, it is gone as soon as I pull it out of the oven so I never get an opportunity to get a good photo.  Besides being the mom and the cook I usually get what's leftover so this photo is as good as it gets, yikes!

My share of Roasted Asparagus with Chicken

A Few Other Ideas For Asparagus:
  • Add chopped cold asparagus to your favorite salad.
  • Toss freshly cooked pasta with diced asparagus, olive oil and your favorite spices. 
  • Add chopped asparagus to omelets or scrambled eggs.
  • Make a hearty cream of asparagus soup!
  • Saute asparagus with garlic, shiitake mushrooms and chicken for a complete meal.
  • Make an asparagus and cheese quiche.

It was great to see the asparagus push through the soil this spring.  Winter is finally over for one more year.  I have been busy in the garden all week and have so far planted potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, onion, garlic and herbs.
May 15th is our official frost date here in Ohio, but I'm planting lettuce, carrots, peas and green beans in the next few days.  Cabbage is a cool weather plant and the rest are all under the soil so will be just fine if we do get a late frost.
Hope your gardening is coming along great!


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, fantaѕtic blog! Tried this recipe without the red bell peppers and is one we will make again! Thanks