April 23, 2019
Asparagus, synonymous with spring, grows well in coastal climates, has an extensive culinary history and is exceptionally nutritious. There are recipes from the Roman Empire in some of our earliest recorded cookbooks, amorous for asparagus. In the culinary world, asparagus at one point was a delicacy, but now with global farming and distribution, it’s considered commonplace and reserved as an accompaniment.To showcase this lovely vegetable, I wanted to bring out not only its earthy qualities but its delicate woody bitterness. Pairing with creamy navy beans — that are brightened with citrus and popped spices — lends substantial flavor and a wonderful juxtaposed texture to the al dente asparagus. This dish is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with dietary fiber and many essential vitamins. I could eat this as an entrée all to myself.
1 bunch asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 can white navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 serrano pepper, minced fine
1/2 lemon, juiced for garnish
Chopped cilantro for garnish
Toss asparagus with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes in a 350°F oven. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan. Just before the oil reaches smoke point, add cumin seeds. Immediately add the beans, ginger, serrano, and salt (to taste). Sauté for a few seconds, then add 3/4 cup water. Let cook for 1 minute and then mash a few of the beans to get a creamier consistency.
Finish by topping the bed of asparagus with the navy beans. Garnish with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
Cook asparagus for another 2 to 3 minutes to achieve a softer texture.
Garnish with lemon zest for an extra pop of citrus. Do this before juicing.
Replace the navy beans with your favorite varietal of bean or with lentils.
December 02, 2022