Recipe of the Week: Broiled Asparagus with Pistachio Purée


In most U.S kitchens, the only nut butter to make an appearance is peanut butter, which stars in the much beloved peanut butter and jelly sandwich but seldom finds its way into savory dishes. But nut butters, including peanut, almond, cashew and walnut, are common ingredients in Asian and African cuisines. It’s a great way to add flavor and body to sauces and purées and it’s easy to make.

Since its still the season for fresh asparagus and I’m running out of ways to serve it, I adapted this recipe from Herbivoracious. Tweeks to the original? I like thin spears slightly undercooked and wanted a lighter purée, so I broiled instead of roasted and added more water to the purée.

Recipe is below the fold.

Broiled Asparagus with Pistachio Purée

For the Pistachio Purée:

2 cups unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels
Juice from 3/4 of a large lemon. (Use a whole lemon if it’s small)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tspn salt
3/4 tspn ground cumin
3/4 tspn smoked paprika
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups water (use more or less depending on how thick you want the puree

For the asparagus:
1 1/2 pounds asparagus spears, trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea or Kosher salt
Good quality balsamic vinegar (the better the vinegar, the better this recipe will be)
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
Fresh tarragon leaves

Preparation for the pistachio puree:

Combine pistachios, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and half the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Process about 5 seconds to begin to break up nuts.

With motor running drizzle in the rest of the olive oil then the water. Blend until smooth but allow some texture to remain. Add more water if you want a lighter puree and adjust seasoning. Keep covered so the color does not turn brown.

Preparation for the asparagus :

Preheat broiler. Toss the asparagus with some olive oil and salt. Broil on a baking sheet 4-5 minutes until brown and just tender. (Thicker asparagus stalks will require more time. These can be roasted and then broiled if you prefer)

To serve, spoon the pistachio puree on a plate and place the asparagus on top. Garnish with the balsamic vinegar, chopped pistachios, sea salt and tarragon leaves.

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