Saturday, August 7, 2010

Aromatic Asparagus with Herbs and Spices

Aromatic Asparagus with Herbs and Spices 

It was a Friday evening on a mild spring day. What can be better than relaxing with a glass of Chardonnay and a spicy starter to go with it? I looked around in the fridge and found a bunch of fresh asparagus. The garden had Thai and Italian basil waiting to be harvested. There was a packet of hot Chili flakes staying around in the pantry that I did not seem to know what to do with. Well, it was time to put them to use and may be get a bit creative.

What turned out was a delicate but spicy starter. My family loved it and I have made this several times since then. I think this dish will make a nice starter or a side dish to just about any meal, Indian, western, sea food, pasta or rice. And yes, it does go well with wine!

Cooking time - 20 minutes
Serves - 4
Category - Starter or side


Fresh Asparagus Spears -                  20 spears approximately
Cumin Seeds  -                                    ¼ Tspn
Olive Oil  -                                             1 Tbspn
Salt -                                                     ¼ Tspn recommended (adjust to taste)
Red Pepper Flakes  -                          ½ Tbspn for medium hot or 1 tbspn for extra hot
Basil Leaves chopped -                       2 to 3 Tbspns
Lemon Juice -                                      ½ Tspn

Wash the asparagus and cut off about 2 inches of the stems. In a pot or a deep pan add salt, asparagus and cover with about 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and continue heating in medium heat. (Total heating time is about 10 minutes). Let stand for about 3 minutes and strain the water off.

In a pan, add the olive oil and heat at medium heat for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and heat until the flavor of roasted cumin seeds come through. Stir in the basil leaves for about 30 seconds and add the asparagus spears. Add the salt and sprinkle the red pepper flakes and sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes at low heat. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve immediately.

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