Asparagus..... One of the highlights of the culinary year, the royal herald of Spring, for me at least. Sous-Chef sadly is allergic to it so we can never have it at home but whenever I can get my hands on it, I indulge to my heart’s content.
This lovely spring vegetable has a very short season, although the imported version is available in supermarkets pretty much all year round – but it is not worth bothering with because its flavour, which is delicate at best, diminishes by the minute once it is picked so by the time it reaches you in mid-December for instance, it will taste of pretty much nothing. It comes in white, green and purple varieties, but the one we are probably most familiar with is the slender green spears.
I adore it in any shape and form, roasted rather than steamed, bathed in melted butter or extra virgin olive oil, but its soft sweetness partners incredibly well with salty savouriness, so once I have eaten my fill of it in its simplest form, I like to dress it with a generous sprinkle of plant-powered Parmesan cheese – absolute heaven!
ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH PLANT-POWERED PARMESAN
Serves 1 very generously
1 bunch really fresh asparagus
15 ml/1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
30 ml/2 tbsp Plant-Powered Parmesan Cheese
Fine sea or Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180oC. Trim the woody ends from the asparagus and lay them out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Brush them liberally with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt and plenty of pepper.
Roast in the oven until just tender and tinged with gold – about 10 minutes but it really depends on the thickness of the asparagus. If the spears are very slender, check them after 7 minutes, if they are fat, they may need a quarter of an hour.
Arrange the asparagus on a plate and sprinkle with the plant-powered parmesan.
And what about the nutrients in asparagus? It is virtually calorie-free, packed with Vitamins C and A, folic acid, potassium, iron, calcium as well as the flavonoid quercetin. Its chromium content keeps blood sugar levels balanced and it contains an amino acid very aptly called asparagine which is beneficial for healthy brain function. It can act as a diuretic, flushing toxins out of the kidneys, and it is a dietary source of glutathione which is crucial for dynamic ageing. Viva!!!