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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Raisin and Pine Nut Asparagus

I have a bad habit of overlooking side dishes. More often than not, I load up on kale and make a batch of kale chips to accompany whatever our main dish is. Sometimes, I forget the side dish altogether. My mom, on the other hand, is a side dish master. Not only will she prepare an elaborate meal, but it'll almost always have several side dishes accompanying it. I remember a high school friend once telling me she loved coming to our house for meals because of the side dishes that were ever present at our dinner table.

Funny, then, that I first prepared this side dish with my mom. Last time she came to visit, we got together with some family friends and had a blast cooking dinner together. My mom and I had planned the menu on the phone the night prior and as I sat reading recipe titles from my Cooking Light magazine, this one jumped out to both of us.

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and I look forward to each Spring when I can enjoy copious amounts of it. This particular asparagus recipe was a win; it's versatile enough to pair with a number of dishes and easy enough to make even while you're worrying about a complicated main dish. Since making it that first time with my mom and our friends, I've since prepared it a few more times, simply because I cannot get enough of the flavor combination! Don't let this Spring slip by without giving this one a try!

Raisin and Pine Nut Asparagus
From Cooking Light, April 2011
-1 pound asparagus, trimmed
-2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
-1/3 cup sliced red onion
-2 tbsp  pine nuts
-2 1/2 tbsp orange juice
-3 tbsp raisins
-2 tsp honey
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp orange zest
-1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Cook asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and pine nuts, cooking for approximately 4 minutes and stirring occasionally.
3. Add orange juice, raisins, and honey, cooking for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in salt and orange zest.
4. Place asparagus on a platter and top with onion mixture. Sprinkle with pepper.

This content was originally posted on Honest Cooking in my featured column "Cooking the Magazines".