A flavourful dish that combines asparagus with cheese and sun-dried tomatoes
Asparagus is a spring vegetable that can be found in three varieties — green, white and purple. It is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, and is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who ate it fresh when in season and dried it for use in winter.
Asparagus is low in calories and low in sodium. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fibre, protein, Vitamins A, C and E, thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus and potassium, as well as chromium.
Only young asparagus shoots are eaten; once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody and become strongly-flavoured. Asparagus is extensively used in appetisers, soups and salads.
Now, for a recipe.
Baked Asparagus with Sundried Tomatoes and Parmesan
Asparagus spears – 200 gm
Parmesan (grated) - 30 gm
Sundried tomatoes (thick strips) - 25 gm
Balsamic vinegar - 10 ml
Basil (torn) - 2 gm
Black peppercorn (crushed) - to taste
Olive oil - 10 ml
Salt - to taste
Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Add the washed asparagus spears and cook until tender, but lightly firm. Dip in ice-cold water.
In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil and add the asparagus. Season with salt and black pepper and finish with torn basil leaves.
Marinate the strips of sundried tomatoes with Balsamic vineagar, olive oil and crushed black peppercorn.
Arrange the asparagus spears on a plate, top with grated parmesan and flash it under a salamander or a hot oven until the cheese melts.
Place the marinated sundried tomatoes over the asparagus and serve.