In my opinion, roasted garlic is one of those miraculous foods that make almost anything taste decadent. Not that asparagus needs much help; it’s a miracle food in its own right and doesn’t need gaudy embellishments, so a tangy hint of lemon combined with the mellow taste of roasted garlic is really the perfect complement for crisp yet tender spears of asparagus.
Roasting garlic mellows the flavor, so if you’re not a fresh garlic fan, you may discover you like the taste of roasted garlic. If you’ve never roasted garlic before, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is. I find that a toaster oven works beautifully without heating up the entire kitchen. Start with a head or two of garlic. Use a sharp knife to cut about 1/2 inch off the top (pointy end) of the head. Place it cut-side up in a oven-proof dish about the same size as the garlic:
Brush or spray the cut surface with a little olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper, if you want. Cover it tightly with foil, and place it in a 400F oven. Bake it for 30 minutes, remove the cover, and bake for about 15 more–you will see the cloves begin to rise out of their paper a little. Allow it to cool, and squeeze, scrape, peel, or otherwise coax the roasted garlic out of the skin. You’re now ready to use it in a recipe or just spread it on a slice of good, toasted bread. Mmmmm. (Sorry, it’s that good!)
Recipe: Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Sauce
- 1/2 head roasted garlic
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon water
- salt to taste
- 1 pound asparagus
- Lightly toast the walnuts. The easiest way to do this is to put them in the oven with the garlic during the last 5 minutes that it’s roasting. When they’re hot but not burning, remove them from the oven and grind them in a food processor (or mash them to a paste in a mortar and pestle). Add half a head of roasted garlic, the lemon juice, and the water and continue to puree. Add salt to taste.
- Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends (just hold a spear at the bottom and in the middle, and it should snap off in the right spot). Steam them lightly for 3 minutes or until they are bright green and just starting to become tender. Place them in a serving dish, and toss them with the roasted garlic sauce. Serve, trying not to fight over the last spear on the plate!
Preparation time (includes roasting garlic): 1 hour(s) | Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 3
Nutrition (per serving): 105 calories, 55 calories from fat, 6.6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4.5mg sodium, 384.8mg potassium, 10g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 3.4g sugar, 5.2g protein, 3.4 points.