Affectionately known as the ‘food of kings’, asparagus are the quintessential combo of luxe plus super health benefits. With a delicate earthy flavour, these green spears are packed full of antioxidants and glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps breakdown harmful free radicals and carcinogens.

Asparagus have been enjoyed as a delicacy throughout history, with Louis XIV of France building a special greenhouse to cultivate them throughout the year. In our time and country, asparagus have a relatively short season, which runs from August through November. So if ever there was a time to savour this aristocratic vegetable, now’s it

Alexandra Cook_asparagusspringonionsreadytobebaked

Lemon Parmesan Asparagus
There’s no contention that asparagus are best served lightly roasted and generously topped with Parmesan shavings. Here’s the classic recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, or more, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 ºC. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place asparagus in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste; gently toss to evenly coat. Place into oven and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but crisp.
  3. Serve immediately, tossed with garlic, lemon juice and Parmesan.

This recipe and loads more can be found on Damn Delicious, a foodie blog focusing on simple ingredients and fresh tastes. For more basics, follow Damn Delicious on Pinterest.

Tartine-Style Asparagus & Spring Onion Croque Monsieur
For something a little more decadent, feast your eyes and then your mouth on this deluxe sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus and spring onions, ends trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Maldon salt
  • Good bread, cut into thick slices
  • Bechamel sauce
  • Grated Gruyère, Comté or Swiss cheese
  • Fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. Toss the asparagus and spring onions with olive oil and Maldon salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Test with a knife for doneness.
  2. Preheat the grill. Place the slices of bread on a sheet pan and grill them about a minute on each side. Remove pan from the oven. Spread about a tablespoon of bechamel over each slice of bread. Top with the roasted vegetables. Top with grated cheese to taste.
  3. Grill until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme and serve immediately.

This sumptuous saamie recipe comes courtesy of food blog Alexandra Cooks, “a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, always seasonal recipes”. Follow Alexandra’s Kitchen on Pinterest for more culinary goodness.

Alexandra Cook_tartine1a

Tartine-Style Asparagus & Spring Onion Croque Monsieur
For something a little more decadent, feast your eyes and then your mouth on this deluxe sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • Asparagus and spring onions, ends trimmed
  • Olive oil
  • Maldon salt
  • Good bread, cut into thick slices
  • Bechamel sauce
  • Grated Gruyère, Comté or Swiss cheese
  • Fresh thyme

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 ºC. Toss the asparagus and spring onions with olive oil and Maldon salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast the vegetables until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Test with a knife for doneness.
  2. Preheat the grill. Place the slices of bread on a sheet pan and grill them about a minute on each side. Remove pan from the oven. Spread about a tablespoon of bechamel over each slice of bread. Top with the roasted vegetables. Top with grated cheese to taste.
  3. Grill until the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Sprinkle with the fresh thyme and serve immediately.

This sumptuous saamie recipe comes courtesy of food blog Alexandra Cooks, “a place for mostly simple, sometimes fussy, always seasonal recipes”. Follow Alexandra’s Kitchen on Pinterest for more culinary goodness.