Friday, March 12, 2010

ASPARAGUS PESTO

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Asparagus is great with Hollandaise sauce, or oven roasted, or just steamed; but I was very open to trying it in a different way.  Southern Living has again come to my rescue.  Get ready for spring with this wonderful new recipe from their March issue.
The pesto can be used for pasta, or as a spread on crostini.   And how about using it as a sandwich spread, in place of mayo?
It will definitely be at my next party as an appetizer, spooned onto crostini or baked pita wedges.
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The original recipe is on the Southern Living website.  If you go there, be sure to also check out their recipe for Roasted Orange-Ginger Asparagus and Fresh Pistachio Vinaigrette.  The vinaigrette can be used as a drizzle over grilled asparagus, or over grilled salmon or other meat. 
I made a half-batch, to try the recipe out.  Since I didn’t have any pine nuts, I decided to use toasted walnuts.  Whole wheat pita was brushed lightly with olive oil and baked  at 400F for 5 minutes, till toasty, then cut into triangles.  My plan was to just taste one triangle.  A heaping tablespoonful of pesto went on top of one triangle, then some roasted red pepper pieces and about a tablespoonful of chopped cooked chicken.  It was so delicious that I decided to just have one more triangle…..till I ate it all.  Every bite was savored.  The flavors of this pesto are so balanced that there is no predominant flavor – it all just blends together into this fresh, light taste that screams, “Spring!”  
One last word:  I hope you have a small food processor for this.  My Braun has been indispensable, and though I get no compensation for saying this, I heartily recommend the Braun.  It’s not just an immersion blender.  The attachments, like the mini-food processor, have come in so very handy.  Easy to clean, easy to use, and one of my most-loved kitchen appliances.
Asparagus Pesto
Adapted Half-Batch, from Southern Living
Rating:  10 out of 10
PRINTABLE RECIPE
INGREDIENTS:  1/2 lb. fresh asparagus
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts, if preferred)
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil (I used Colavita Frutatto)
1/2 garlic clove
1-1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (not from a bottle, please)
1/4 tsp. sea salt, or to taste  (I used Celtic fine ground – excellent flavor)
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Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus.  Cook asparagus in boiling water to cover 3-4 minutes or till crisp-tender; drain. 
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Plunge asparagus into ice water to stop cooking process; drain again.  Coarsely chop.
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Place all ingredients in work bowl of mini-food processor. 
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Pulse 30 seconds to 1 minute, or till smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Refrigerate till needed.  Yield:  about 1 cup
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15 comments:

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a lovely asparagus pesto Judy. I've never though of using asparagus in pesto. How clever of SL.

I see you are using the fat spears - my favorites. The skinny ones, which is all I can find now, never seem to have the depth of taste of the fat ones.
Sam

George Gaston said...

Judy, you have stumbled on a new sensation that will satisfy asparagus lovers everywhere!

I can not wait to try this pesto, many thanks...

p.s. Hope all is well out west

Judy said...

Sam, they look fat because of the close-up. They're skinny, it's all I can get too and I, like you, prefer the fat ones.
George, We're waiting on Jim's surgery date, March 18. I'll be flying out on the 17th to be with him in Phoenix.

Sophie said...

Waw,...green asparagus pesto!! What a neat & grand excellent idea, Judy!!!!

buffalodick said...

I have a food processor that has the power of an outboard motor! I hardly ever use it!

Kerstin said...

I love the idea of asparagus in a pesto - YUM!

Jessica said...

Yum! That asparagus pesto looks so very tasty! I can't wait for asparagus to come in season around here and then I will definitely make this recipe. I love Southern Living, it's such a great magazine.

Kim said...

Love the idea of asparagus pesto - very original. I bet it is good enough to eat alone with a spoon:D

Judy said...

Kim, It definitely is!

Holly said...

I just found your blog thru Pam Midwest Kitchen and am now following. I think this pesto sounds intriguing I wonder if you could use pecans instead of walnuts tho?

Judy said...

Hi Holly, welcome to my blog and thank you for following. The original recipe called for pine nuts and I subbed walnuts. I think pecans would be fine.

biz319 said...

That looks delicious Judy! I made an asparagus guacamole once - you'd never know it didn't have avocado in it!

Hope your son is doing well!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Judy, i love this pesto! I'll be giving it a try tomorrow! Thanks for Sharing!

Katy ~ said...

An original use of my beloved asparagus. Wow does this look amazing!

Anonymous said...

Good info in your posting, I saw a report on a site last week about this same stuff and since I am getting married in five weeks and the timing couldnt have been better! thnks for the post!