My mom says, unlike most kids, I was a very good eater. There wasn't much I wasn't inteested in trying. Asparagus and artichokes alike. I was an adventurous eater as early as I can remember. When asparagus is in season and you can get the thin stalks that cook quickly and are so tender, it's a favored addition to any plating here at Casa M; even in soups and with other vegetables to compliment. One of our favorite ways to prepare it as a stand-alone side (other than grilling, of course), is sautéed quickly with a little bacon and onions (here we use leeks). Good Shepherd® really shines here to highlight the flavors of the asparagus while also adding some black pepper notes and Chain Reaction® brightens the flavors without adding too much salt.
If you have a choice, get thin asapargus, not the ones that are the size of your thumb. Each stalk will have a different point where it needs to be trimmed. Look carefully for where the fiber becomes "woody" and just cut that part off each stalk. Toasting of pine nuts is an art, particularly in today's day and age. Way too many distractions; way too many "squirrels." Normally we toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over the gas heat on the stove, but it's also quite easy (and much less prone to burning) to put them into a toaster oven and monitor them like a hawk. Prepare something "cool" to put them into when you pull them out so they don't continue to cook in the pan or baking sheet while you look for something to put them in. Obviously, wash your produce well. The leeks will have lots of grit down near the top of the tender white parts and the citrus, since you're using the zest, should be washed well prior to zesting. Zesting should be done directly onto the dish rather than onto a plate or board to retain as much of the zest oils and flavors as possible.
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Asparagus:
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into very small pieces
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 pound asparagus, hard ends trimmed, sliced on the bias into 2" slices
- 1-1/2 cup leek, tender white part only, cut into 1/4 lengthwise, then diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- zest from one lemon
- 1 teaspoon of zest from orange
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 1 Tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- Casa M Spice Co Good Shepherd®
Each stalk will have a different point where it needs to be trimmed. Look carefully for where the fiber becomes "woody" and just cut that part off each stalk.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sautée the bacon until it browns.
Add butter to the pan, let it melt and mix in, then add the asparagus and leeks and let them continue to sautée 4-5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender to bite, but still retains structure.
Turn off the heat. Add the garlic, zests, pine nuts, and parsley. Mix them in and let them cook with the asparagus with the heat off for about 1-2 minutes until they become fragrant.
Season in the pan with Casa M Spice Co® seasonings. Chain Reaction® adjusts the salt taste and Good Shepherd adjusts the black pepper taste.
Turn out onto a platter and serve with tongs while hot.