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Springtime Side: Sauteed Asparagus

I know it's still a few weekends away, but I'm a planner and not a procrastinator, and I've already got Easter dinner on my mind. Asparagus is an excellent, seasonal option to pair with grilled lamb, roast duck or any meat option. It works well as an appetizer, but I like to chop it up, lightly sauté it and serve it as a vegetable component to round out a meat and potatoes menu. The best thing about a side like this is that it can be ready in ten minutes with minimal chopping and cooking. If it's still not in season in your area, hold on to this recipe. When you find it at your local farmer's market, pack it up in a disposal plastic container for an alternative side to potato salad for a picnic. A good quality olive oil, lemon zest, and a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese highlight the vegetable's delectable flavor. For the recipe,

Sauteed Asparagus
From Simply Recipes

1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb
2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard.
  2. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.
  3. Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil.
  4. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water.
  5. While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.
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