Welcome to our last post for Asparagus Week! If you haven’t checked out our two previous asparagus recipes yet, be sure to take a look on the main page. The recipes were a simple and affordable Oven Roasted Asparagus and an amazing Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara. So, without further ado, here is today’s recipe:
Roasted Asparagus, Tomato and Feta Couscous
Serves 6 as a side salad
Time: 32 minutes
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- Salt and pepper
- 1 fresh lemon
- 1 package (5.8 ounces) Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Couscous (Near East mix or substitute with 1 cup plain cooked couscous)
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 of 1 container (10.5 ounces) ripe cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Break off the woody ends of the asparagus. Toss the asparagus, 2 tablespoons olive oil, about 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste) together on a large sheet pan.
- Bake in the oven for 12-17 minutes (depending on the asparagus thickness), flipping the spears once halfway into the cooking time. Remove and squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over the spears. Allow to cool and chop into 2-inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, prepare the packaged couscous according to package directions. Allow to cool.
- While the asparagus is cooking, prepare the dressing. Pour the vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce until the vinegar is halved (about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons). Allow to slightly cool and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, Dijon mustard, and honey. Briskly whisk and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste).
- Halve the cherry tomatoes.
- Add the cooled couscous, cooled chopped asparagus, and cherry tomatoes to a large bowl. Lightly toss. Add dressing to taste and another fresh squeeze of lemon if desired. Lightly toss again and then top with the crumbled feta cheese. Enjoy immediately.
- If you don’t plan on eating all of the salad, only dress what you will eat (this salad doesn’t sit well with the dressing for an extended time).
Welcome to recipe #2 of Asparagus Week! We have good news for you today, because some Ontario asparagus has just come available to us here at the St. James Campus Good Food Market! That means you’ll be able to find some fresh asparagus at our market next Thursday June 7.
If you do plan to bring home some fresh asparagus, keep in mind it will generally only last 5-7 days in the fridge.
To keep your asparagus fresh for as long as possible, try the following:
- Cut 1 inch off the ends
- Stand spears in a glass container with about 1-2 inches of water
- Use a plastic bag to loosely cover the asparagus
- Store in refrigerator
- Change water if you notice it becoming clouded
Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara:
Roasted asparagus and mushrooms in a creamy and cheesy egg sauce with plenty of fresh cracked black pepper.
Time: 50 minutes
- 1 lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
- 8 oz mushrooms, quartered
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz fettucine (or pasta of choice)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup parmesan
- Plenty of fresh cracked black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Optional: 4 oz bacon cut into 1-inch pieces or 4 oz pancetta, diced
Toss the asparagus and mushrooms in oil, salt and pepper, place on baking sheet in a single layer and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until they start to caramelize, about 20-30 minutes, mixing half way through.
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- If using meat option, cook the bacon in a pan, pour off all but a tablespoon of the grease from the pan, add the garlic, cook for 30 second and turn off the heat.
- Mix the egg, cheese, pepper and salt and parsley in a bowl.
- Drain the cooked pasta reserving some of the water.
- Mix the pasta, egg mixture, asparagus and mushrooms into the pan with the bacon (if using meat option), adding reserved pasta water as needed.
Note: To speed things up, about 20 minutes into roasting the asparagus and mushrooms, get your pot of water for the pasta on the stove and start bringing it to a boil.
Starting this week, we’ll be running a new Seasonal Fruit/Veggie of the Week edition. Every week, we’ll be choosing one local Ontario fruit or vegetable in season during that particular month. We’ll be posting information and recipes for that veggie three times per week. This week’s local veggie is asparagus! Hope you enjoy!
Asparagus, also known as Asparagus officinalis, garden asparagus or sparrow grass, is a flowering perennial plant native to the East Mediterranean (Greece, Asia Minor, the Middle East and Egypt). It was considered a particularly sacred plant in ancient Greece and was used for several medicinal purposes related to digestion including as a diuretic and for urethral pain. By the 16th century, it had become popular among the western European nobility and was grown almost exclusively for them.
Asparagus was first introduced to North America by European colonisers in the 18th century and grows best in wet or coastal regions. In Ontario, asparagus comes in season in May and June. It can easily be roasted, steamed or grilled as a part of a delicious spring meal!
The ends of asparagus are woody and need to be trimmed off before cooking. The woody ends can be snapped off using your fingers and will naturally break right where the woody end begins. To save time, you can always snap one and then use it as a guide to trim the rest of the bunch.
Simple Oven-Roasted Asparagus:
This recipe can be used as an appetizer or as a part of a main course. Goes well with chicken, steak, fish or mock meat equivalents.
- 1lbs bunch of asparagus (20-30 spears)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Wash asparagus and trim stalks
- Coat bottom of baking pan with olive oil
- Lay spears of asparagus across baking pan
- Lightly sprinkle salt
- Put in oven at 325-350F
- Flip asparagus spears half way through cooking time
- Let roast for 30 minutes or until soft and slightly crispy
- Remove from oven and serve