Even though there was sleet in Chicagoland yesterday, snow two days ago and rain today, I really like this time of year. Why? This time of year means asparagus season in my local produce aisles! It is too early for the farmers markets to open, so I have to make due with the freshest products the supermarkets can offer.
I usually prepare asparagus simply with olive oil and either lemon juice or balsamic vinegar – grilled or baked – and top it with grated romano or parmesan cheese. My very basic formula is below:
asparagus + vinegar/acid + olive oil + cheese
Roasting the asparagus at 425 F in the oven gives it a nice sweetness, especially when the grill is still covered with snow. I have tried making asparagus other ways. For example, I made an elaborate leek and bacon topping once that tasted excellent, but the asparagus was lost. If the asparagus is good and in season, you really don’t need to do much to it.
I found this particular recipe on Food Network. It followed my asparagus + vinegar + olive oil + cheese rule, so I let it into my repertoire. I have decided that was a very good idea. We had this asparagus with my Israeli couscous and foil packet Salmon.
Note: For the longest time I found champagne vinegar to be elusive. I could not find it anywhere. I found it at Whole Foods for this recipe and it was maybe $3.00. Not bad.
Asparagus with Champagne Vinaigrette and Feta
Original recipe from Food Network by Patrick & Gina Neely
2 bunches asparagus, tough ends snapped off
2 T olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 T dijon mustard
2 T champagne vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Toss asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet with 2 T olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer asparagus to serving dish.
While asparagus is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together dijon mustard, champagne vinegar and olive oil in a small measuring cup. Season to taste with a little sea salt and pepper.
Pour vinaigrette over asparagus. Sprinkle with feta cheese. Serve warm.