Monday, March 25, 2013

Roasted Asparagus With Hazelnuts & Seasoned Currants

I usually think of asparagus as a simple side dish but this recipe is so much more - seasoned asparagus roasted in hazelnut oil and topped with a savory-sweet-tangy mix of roasted hazelnuts, garlic, thyme, dried currants and a balsamic vinaigrette. This dish was SO good that I have delayed my day a bit to post this recipe today vs. tomorrow.  I just couldn't wait. Today this was a satisfying lunch for us but it would also make a delicious, hearty side dish for dinner. As a matter of fact, the next time I entertain I think I'll ask Mr SSS to do some grilling and I will prepare this as a side dish. It's one of this dishes that I think has universal appeal. And it is a fast and easy one. A note: I've posted the original recipe below but next time I would cut back on the hazelnut-currant topping. Half was more than enough for me and I am not complaining - I'll use the rest tomorrow to dress roasted green beans and enjoy another delectable lunch. This recipe is one to try soon!

Roasted Asparagus With Hazelnuts & Seasoned Currants

2 T hazelnut oil
1 lb fresh, young asparagus
salt & freshly ground pepper
generous 1/4 c hazelnuts
1 c + 1/2 c dried currants
6 T olive oil
1 T + 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T + 1/4 T chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Snap off and discard tough ends of  asparagus {do this by holding each end of an asparagus spear and bending the tough end - it will naturally snap at the right place}. Place asparagus spears on the baking sheet and drizzle with hazelnut oil.  Roll the asparagus in the oil to evenly coat, making sure they rest in a single layer. Season with 1 t salt and 1/8 t pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 minutes.

While the asparagus is roasting, place the hazelnuts in a single layer on the other baking sheet.  Toast in the oven {along with the hazelnuts} until brown, 8 - 10 minutes. Immediately place them in a damp towel and roll them around to remove the skins. Coarsely chop the nuts.

In a small bowl, toss together the chopped nuts, currants, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, garlic and 1/8 t pepper.

To serve, place asparagus on a platter and top with the currant-nut mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6.
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Source:  LA Times

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