Today I went to the Santa Monica Open Air Market which is one of my favorites here in beautiful Southern California. Never disappoints! http://bit.ly/jD4bnp
Here is my pick for today! Asparagus!
Please take the time a read the health benefits of this versatile vegetable! http://bit.ly/V4Bjg
I bought enough to grill, make soup and a risotto. The risotto recipe is already posted under “Cooking” on home page, titled “Risotto”
I will be posting “Creamy Asparagus Soup” (no cream) shortly!
2 bunches of Asparagus (12 to 14 stalk per bunch)
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional as desired
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper plus additional as desired
2 teaspoons reduced balsamic
FOR THE BALSAMIC SYRUP
1 (16.9-fluid-ounce) bottle balsamic vinegar
Pour the whole bottle into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium-high and continue to boil until the vinegar starts to thicken and forms a syrup like consistency, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be careful not to thicken too much, or you will end up with a thick black goop. To test, use a wooden spoon: if the syrup coats the back of the spoon, it is ready to remove from the heat. Let it cool to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator. I use a needle-nose plastic bottle to store my gaze after it has cooled. It will last up to 2 months in the refrigerator.
Pre-heat oven to 450 F.
Gently bend the asparagus and the bottom will snap off naturally at the tough end. Trim with a knife at the breaking point. Rinse and dry completely.
Spread the asparagus out on a baking pan. Drizzle with the olive oil. Using your hands, mix well to coat the asparagus with the oil. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over the top. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes; the asparagus will be slightly crunchy, not soft. (If you like your vegetables cooked more, leave the asparagus in the oven a little longer.)
Remove from the oven and place on platter. Drizzle the balsamic syrup over the asparagus before serving. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and cracked pepper over the top to taste.