This spring vegetable is a member of the lily family hailing from the Mediterranean. The slender green stalks are great steamed, roasted or grilled on the barbecue. About half of the few calories in asparagus are from protein, which is high for a vegetable. Asparagus is an excellent source of potassium, vitamins K, B1, B2, B6, B9, A & C with a good amount of fiber.
Many notice when wandering through the produce section of the grocery store that asparagus can be fairly expensive. While it is in season this time of year, and therefore is not as pricey it can still be higher in cost than other vegetable choices. Hand tending, slow growth and quick expiration contribute to the costly pricetag associated with this veggie.
If you’re looking for a special side dish for dinner tonight, check this out!
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
- 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1-2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.