| Asparagus with Roasted Red
Peppers and Toasted Pine Nuts
is an idea I saw in a deli window over the holidays. I've improved
it by using fresh ingredients, toasting the pine nuts and enhancing the
presentation with perfectly diced peppers. This is a colorful and
tasty veggie side dish. Prepare all three ingredients ahead of time
and then assemble a la minute. Way too many steps here for
what is really a simple dish to prepare. But lets do it all nicely.
Start by roasting the peppers!
Asparagus with Roasted Red Peppers and Toasted Pine Nuts
Yield: 4 servings
See Abbreviations, if needed
For The Roasted Red Peppers:
2 red bell peppers
5T pine nuts
1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 6-8
spears per serving)
4t EVOO or an infused
oil of choice
S/P to taste
1. Roast the red bell peppers over a gas flame, on the grill
or under the electric broiler, turning to char and blacken
2. Place the roasted peppers in individual foil sheets, close
up tight and let cool
3. When cooled, scrape the charred skin off of each pepper using
a paring knife
|Tip "Keep your Roasted Peppers Dry." You
need water to clear away the mess created when scraping off the charred
and blackened skin of a roasted bell pepper. The usual method is
to place the pepper under cool running water and scrape away the skin with
a paring knife. This method gets the job done but also results in
an unholy mess and a slimy pepper. The trick is to periodically clean
off the paring knife under the running water while keeping the pepper,
in hand, dry. The result is a still messy sink, but a nice dry skinned
4. Cut open the peppers, remove seeds and white ribs and cut into
wide rectangular strips
5. Using your chefs knife, neatly cut 3/8-inch strips from the
wide strips and then cut each strip into
perfect 3/8-inch X 3/8-inch diced pieces
6. Place the diced peppers in a prep
dish, cover and set aside
For the Pine Nuts:
7. Heat a dry sauté pan to quite hot and then add the
8. Toss or stir the nuts until they begin to brown and give off
the first whiff of toasted nuts.
9. Transfer the nuts immediately from the hot pan to a prep dish.
If the nuts smell burned, throw them out and do 'em over
For the Asparagus:
10. Trim off and discard the bottom few inches of the bunch.
Don't bother to peel the asparagus
11. Spray wash the trimmed asparagus
12. Bring water to boil in the bottom of a double boiler
13. Place the asparagus into the fitted colander top of the double
boiler, cover and steam for five minutes
14. While steaming, fill a SSB with ice and some water.
When the asparagus are done, transfer them from the colander
into the ice water to cool
and set their bright green color. After a minute or so, fish the
asparagus out of the ice water
and place all on paper
toweling to hold
For the Dish:
15. Transfer the diced peppers (and the juice) to a small pan,
add a little salt and heat gently
16. Place the EVOO into a large heated sauté pan.
When medium hot, place in the asparagus spears, quickly add a little salt
and freshly ground pepper, and
toss gently to thoroughly heat the spears, about 2 minutes
17. Transfer and align about 7 spears to each heated serving
plate, add a generous band of red peppers neatly across the spears
and then sprinkle on a couple
of pinches of toasted pine nuts.
18. Serve immediately with entrée.