I love asparagus. It's one of my all-time favorite vegetables and I can't get enough of it in early spring when it's in season. The theme for this week's recipe swap was Side Dishes and when I did the swapping and ended up with Katie's Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus I felt like I'd hit the jackpot.
The original recipe says this feeds 8-10 people as a side dish but that must not be for true asparagus lovers like us. My two bunches were a little over 2lbs and the two of us polished it off between dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day. Maybe someday Baby Girl will realize how awesome asparagus tastes and like more than just snapping the ends off and tossing the spears with oil and seasoning.
My spears were so thin I skipped the blanching step altogether, opting to let them roast in the oven. The balsamic drizzle was a delicious finishing touch. Definitely take the recipe's advice and open your windows. Even though it was a brisk night I had the kitchen window and the back slider open for a cross breeze, as well as the ceiling fan on in the living room and the exhaust fan on over the stove. There's nothing like inhaling a big ol' whiff of boiling vinegar - it's not pleasant so don't do it!
Thanks for a delicious recipe, Kate!
Balsamic Parmesan Asparagus
As seen on Kate's Recipe Box, originally from Leite’s Culinaria
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar or a few drops top-notch balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
2 lbs. asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 cup (about 4oz.) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 350.
If using top-notch balsamic vinegar, skip this step. Otherwise, open a window and turn on the exhaust fan. Put the vinegar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the vinegar is reduced by half, anywhere from 7 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the saucepan. Remove from the heat.
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the asparagus and blanch until barely tender, about 1 minute for spears of average thickness, more for thicker spears. Skip this step if you have pencil-thin spears. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Pat the asparagus dry with paper towels. (You can keep the asparagus at room temperature or refrigerate it for up to several hours.)
Place the asparagus in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Add salt to taste, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle the asparagus with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Bake until the spears are tender and the cheese is browned and almost bubbling (it won’t actually melt), about 5 minutes.
Transfer asparagus to a platter. Drizzle with the reduced balsamic vinegar or a few drops of the really top notch stuff. Serve immediately.
Click the links below to see side dishes made by my fellow swappers.