It’s coming to the end of asparagus season at the farmers markets. For a girl who loves local stuff, I’m generally not in the know about what’s “in-season.” Citrus is in winter right? Everything else is in summer?
Well I’m getting my education at the Oregon farmers markets this summer, and so far asparagus has been exploding out of farmers’ stalls in rubber-banded bunches.
Thank goodness summer vegetables are best prepared simple, because that’s all we can manage. So I’ve been making roasted asparagus with lemon and sea salt.
I’ve also been searching for new light and simple pasta dishes. So here’s a recipe for roasted pepper sauce that was delicious with fresh bay shrimp from the market and whole wheat spaghetti.
Please share your own recent favorite sauces or vegetable dishes!
- 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
- a few tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon for juicing
- pinch of sea salt
- drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Trim the ends of the asparagus.
- Toss the asparagus spears in a few tablespoons of olive oil and lay them out flat on a cookie sheet.
- Turn your oven to broil (I use 500 degrees), let it heat up for a minute or two, and pop in the asparagus on the top rack.
- Check after about 4-5 minutes. That’s usually all it takes. You want the asparagus to be a tiny bit browned in places, but not limp.
- Toss the asparagus in a bowl, throw in a pinch of sea salt, juice one lemon over them, and sprinkle with a bit of good balsamic vinegar. Yum!
Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce
- Two small-medium onions, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 jar roasted red peppers, liquid reserved
- Generous pinches of thyme, sage, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes
- Shrimp, chopped fresh tomato, & parmesan cheese for garnish
- Chop two small-medium sized onions and 4-5 cloves of garlic.
- Sauté the onion on the stove top in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until onion is tender. Throw in the garlic midway through.
- Coarsely dice a jar of roasted peppers, reserving the liquid (see note).
- When the onions are tender, throw in the coarsely chopped peppers and the pepper liquid (or about a cup of water or chicken stock if you roasted the peppers yourself).
- Add your favorite spices. For this sauce I used generous pinches of thyme, sage, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Turn down the heat to medium low, and let simmer for about ten minutes, adding more water or stock if necessary so that the mixture doesn’t get too dry.
- Puree in a blender or food processor to desired consistency.
- Serve with generous helpings of shrimp, chopped fresh tomato, and parmesan cheese!
Note: I get my roasted peppers from Trader Joe’s. If you have a gas stove you can also easily roast your peppers over the gas flame, turning frequently until the skin is fairly charred (don’t leave unattended!). Or you can roast peppers in your oven on broil, also turning them a few times for even roasting, and watching carefully until skin is fairly charred. If you are doing it yourself, throw the hot roasted peppers in a paper bag for five minutes to steam—skin will peel off much easier. OR you can just buy them already jarred.
My current favorite are sugar snap peas. I do them very simply, just sauteed in olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and a dash of lemon juice. And not for too long – love ’em when they are still snappy!
I’m a fan of three herb pesto. In the food processor I combine a bunch of cilantro, about two thirds a bunch of parsley and a somewhat larger amount of basil with olive oil, grated parmesan, and walnuts or pine nuts or a mix of the two. I like to use the spiral pastas with these as they hold the pesto best…. and have also found that sauteed and then chopped spinach also mixes in incredibly well.
Love these ideas! It’s amazing what olive oil, salt, and herbs can do. I’m not sure why I haven’t experimented more!
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