Looking for an easy and delicious asparagus side dish? How about trying this asparagus with mediterranean salsa recipe tonight! I love green asparagus topped with this salsa made with a mix of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, Italian parsley and toasted pine nuts. Plus a hint of lemon and drizzle of olive oil. Simple and flavor-packed, this is a great way to enjoy asparagus in a new way! Ready in just about 15-minutes, it seems all too good to be this quick and easy.
How to cook asparagus
I am fond of grilled vegetables, but asparagus is of those things I also enjoy blanched or even pan fried. Both methods of cooking asparagus are super quick, and you really can’t mess it up.
How to blanch or steam asparagus
You can either blanch it in boiling water, use a steamer basket, or simply steam it in a skillet with a little water. If asparagus is the only thing I am blanching, then I tend to go for the skillet method. It takes mere minutes and is super easy. Just add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and let steam until al dente. Voila. Done.
How to pan fry asparagus
You could also pan-fry asparagus. To make pan-fried asparagus, cook spears in a little bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat until the bottoms start to turn brown. Then flip the spears over and cook another couple minutes until they are crisp-tender. A heavy-bottomed or cast iron skillet are great for this. It allows you to char the asparagus a little while still keeping it lightly cooked and crisp on the inside.
Grilling asparagus is also a great option
And since summer is just around the corner there is also the option to throw it on the grill. I love this, as you also get some smokey flavors.
Ways to adapt this recipe
This salsa can also be made with your favorite type of green olives instead of kalamata olives (my personal favorite!). You could also use sweet cherry tomatoes for some fresh summer flavors in this recipe and for garlic lovers, feel free to add a clove of minced garlic to the mix. And if you wanted to add a little crumbled feta cheese, I definitely wouldn’t say no! Freshly grated parmesan would also be a nice option!
What to serve with this Mediterranean asparagus recipe
As this is served with quite a bit of salsa, I like to serve it with something that compliments the flavors. Potatoes are a great choice. As is salmon baked in the oven or grilled chicken at your next barbeque. I recently served this with quiche and an arugula salad and it was also a great hit. Otherwise, if you are looking to enjoy it as a light lunch, serve it up with some crusty bread and a high-quality olive oil and some coarse sea salt (like Flor de Sal do Algarve) for dipping (or maybe balsamico instead). Or even a second side salad, such as tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil. And don’t worry about leftovers, they are great tossed in with a salad, and especially great with a simple potato salad.
Asparagus with Mediterranean Salsa
Easy Mediterranean green asparagus recipe! Bright, simply steamed asparagus takes on a flavor-packed Mediterranean salsa with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and olives. A simple and delicious side dish that is naturally suitable for a vegan and gluten-free diet.
- 500 g green asparagus, or more
- 30 g pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 50 g sun-dried tomatoes (marinated in oil and herbs) (about 7-8 halves), finely chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, plus 2 tbsp of their brine
- 8 kalamata olives, or a mix with green olives, pitted and sliced
- 1 small bunch parsley, chopped (3-4 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grate the zest from an organic lemon
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lightly toast pine nuts, stirring frequently, until the nuts begin to brown (don’t take your eyes off them, as they can easily burn). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and their brine, the olives and its water and a pinch of salt. Add parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, add asparagus. Add enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and let steam for 3 to 5 minutes, or until asparagus is tender (can easily be pierced with a knife) but still crisp and bright green.
Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with the salsa.
When ready to serve, arrange the asparagus on a serving platter. Season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Top with the Mediterranean salsa. Serve and enjoy!
- I always use organic capers in brine from Rapunzel. Some other brands have a very strong vinegar taste, in which case I would consider reducing the amount of brine used in the recipe.
- Since sun-dried tomatoes are a big player in the recipe, be sure to choose one you know and love. I usually pick mine up at the market or my organic food store, freshly packed and marinated with basil and oregano.
- I buy locally grown asparagus at my local farmers market. Super fresh and domestically grown, it tastes the best. And is really great on the BBQ brushed in a little olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
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