25 March 2008

Asparagus with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Olives


Isn't asparagus wonderful? I just love those elegant bright green spears. They are so pretty on a plate with something sprinkled or drizzled across them, or even on their own. What's more, asparagus is generally quick and easy to prepare.

And so, as I selected vegetables for the week, I ended up with not just one, but two, bundles of beautiful fresh asparagus. Not wanting to bore my family, or myself, by preparing the asparagus the same old way I usually do, sauteing it in a pan until crisp tender and then sprinkling it with a few drops of sesame oil, I thought I would look through a cookbook for some new ideas.

As is often the case, "Real-Life Entertaining" by Donata Maggipinto, had just what I was looking for. I found a Spanish influenced recipe which included luscious black olives (a personal favorite), buttered crumbs and a sherry vinegar based dressing.

Sound delicious? It did to me, so I gave it a try.

I wasn't disappointed!

Asparagus with Toasted Bread Crumbs and Olives

1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed

Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Crumb Topping
2 - 3 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup sliced black olives


Prepare a vinaigrette by whisking together the sherry vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prepare the crumb topping. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the bread crumbs. Cook and stir over medium heat until the crumbs are toasty, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. When cool, add to the olives and toss. Set aside.

Heat 1/2 inch of water to boiling in a large saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and the trimmed asparagus. Reduce heat, cover and steam for approximately 5 minutes, adjusting the time according to the thickness of the asparagus spears, until asparagus is crisp tender.

Drain asparagus and arrange on a small platter. Sprinkle crumbs and olives across asparagus and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Serve and enjoy!


Notes: You can make fresh bread crumbs by putting several slices of firm bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulsing until crumbs form. I didn't have firm bread on hand so I used unseasoned croutons that had been smashed a bit.

There will likely be plenty of crumbs and olives as well as vinaigrette left over to dress some baby greens for a salad the following day. Or you could cut the recipe for vinaigrette and topping in half and have fewer leftovers.

2 comments:

Ricki said...

I just adore recipes that are easy AND delicious! This sounds phenomenal--what a mouth-watering combination of ingredients. Bookmarked!

Lisa said...

Thanks Ricki! I love those spring vegetables...