Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Asparagus in Warm Tarragon Vinaigrette with Pecans and 'Bacon'

I am forcing spring a little with this side dish - asparagus really won't be in season for another month or two, but I can feel my palate making a subtle shift already...away from the heartier fare of winter and towards spring's vegetables!

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 and 1/2 pounds asparagus (cut into 1 and 1/2-inch long slices), and saute for 4 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons raw sugar. Add the vinegar mixture, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper to the asparagus. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note: you'll definitely want to use fresh tarragon for this recipe, not dried. Fresh tarragon is amazingly aromatic, and - something I never noticed before tonight - has a strong licorice/anise note to its smell. A search on wikipedia showed that this scent is due to a compound called estragole, which is a carcinogen in mice, but absolutely harmless even at 100 times the typical consumption rates in humans! (Although, shame on scientists for giving mice a carcinogen).

Sprinkle the asparagus with 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (toast them first, if you like) and 2 cooked and crumbled slices of vegan bacon (such as LightLife). 1 cup of asparagus makes a spring-y side dish of 140 calories.

Note: when I have recipes that call for crumbled 'bacon', I find it best to cook the vegan bacon for about 1 to 2 minutes longer than package directions, so it gets nice and crispy.

asparagus $4.48
vegan sugar $4.99
tarragon $2.49
pecans $0.38
vegan bacon $2.50

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance