Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dill Cornmeal Crusted Asparagus- Recipe Redux

This month's Recipe Redux theme is "The First Shoots of Spring."  The weather is starting to become predictable and Spring is in full bloom.  I love taking walks with Lyla and pointing out the vibrant flowers and different kinds of leaves.  Farmer's markets are featuring the first vegetables of the season including pea shoots, rhubarb, garlic scapes, rams, and asparagus.  Our mission was to use one of these early edible plants in a healthy dish.

This month has been a bit crazy for me with Passover taking over so I have to admit this was a last minute scramble.  I couldn't find any of the unique crops in my usual store so I settled for asparagus- white asparagus to be exact.  Did you know that it's white because it's grown under soil so that it's deprived of sunlight?  This way it can't perform photosynthesis and produce chlorophyll (the thing that makes plants green).  White asparagus is more subtle in flavor and a bit more tender.

White Asparagus
I love a good dill sauce with my asparagus but since I've already posted a recipe for asparagus with dill sauce for Thanksgiving, I had to get a bit more creative.  I'm a bug fan of vegetable tempura so I decided to make a cornmeal batter infused with dill for some good color.  I coated my white asparagus in it, sprinkled with some panko, and roasted it up for some yummy goodness.  2 vegetables in 1 and a healthier alternative to tempura which is fried!  These dill dipped asparagus spears are beautiful and fun to make.  Make some for your next dinner party to impress your friends!

Dill Cornmeal Crusted Asparagus

1 bunch white asparagus, washed
2/3 c cornmeal
1/3 c whole wheat flour
1 t salt
2 T nutritional yeast
1 egg
½ c water
2 T olive oil
1 bunch fresh dill
¼ c panko bread crumb

1.    Preheat oven to 400 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.    Cut asparagus edges off on a diagonal and set aside.
3.    Wash the dill and trim off stems
4.    Combine all ingredients (except asparagus) in a food processor and blend until smooth
5.    Pour mixture into a mixing bowl
6.    Roll the top third of each asparagus in the mixture and place on baking sheet.  Sprinkle panko crumbs on coated tops
7.    Then sprinkle salt and pepper on exposed stalks
8.    Roast for 20 minutes

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