One of my favorite spring and summer vegetables is Asparagus. A simple marinade and a bit of time enhances this gorgeous vegetable and brings out the best without overwhelming.
This little recipe is a go to, a “back pocket” recipe. A little olive oil, an herb, a pinch of red pepper and garlic, and a good squeeze of lemon.
Marinades like this generally follow a formula: Two parts olive oil to one part acid. Get creative from there. Maybe you’d like to use a red or white wine vinegar, vary the herbs, add a little red onion or thinly sliced green as I did above. A little dry mustard could add some zip, and even a sprinkling of finely diced red bell pepper and celery along with the onion, strewn across the asparagus makes this into a more of a salad.
As a matter of fact, a lovely dressing can sub in for the marinade. My Greek Dressing comes to mind. When olive oil is refrigerated, it may become thicker and hardened; simply bring up to room temperature.
Paired with an Egg Salad Sandwich, Marinated Asparagus makes a classic combo. The little recipe is a great way to switch up any left over Asparagus for another meal – or perhaps when you make asparagus, you’d like to make extra and plan for left overs later in the week.
- 1 pound asparagus (choose thick stalks if possible.)
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon oregano
Cook Asparagus until tender crisp. (my favorite method is in the microwave.) Place in bowl and run cold water over until cool, or plunge into a bowl with ice and water.
Mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano in a small bowl and pour over asparagus. Refrigerate from two to four hours to overnight.
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
- Asparagus: On sale in our area, very seldom for 99 cents a bunch, $1.99 a bunch is a good sales price. In the spring we’ll see it now and then for $1.49 a pound. I love asparagus and try to think of ways to use it when it’s in season and the prices are low. This is a vegetable I can’t deal with frozen. You’ll want to be aware of the size of the bunch – some stores portion it in 12 ounces and some 16 ounces. I paid $1.99.
- To remove tough ends, slide one out of the rubber band, and snap it, holding it at the ends – It will break in just the right place. Line that stalk up with the rest of the asparagus that is still banded cut through them all at once. The stalks take longer to cook than the ends, so sliding a band up to keep the tips together saves you a bit of time. I don’t waste the ends – they go in my morning smoothie or a stock.
- Olive Oil: I have a little strategy for buying olive oil – using coupons and sales to lower the price, so click on the link. I think it’s important to use olive oil as opposed to many others – the health benefits outweigh a bit more extra cost, and it can be had at a very reasonable price. I also like the fact that Olive oil contains no hidden trans fats like Canola or Vegetable oil. Cost for this recipe: 24 cents.
- Lemon: In season in the winter months here – lemons are often on sale through out the year 3 to 4 to a dollar. The rind holds as much or more flavor than the juice, so I often grate it off before using and store in a Ziploc in my freezer – the little bit dries up but still holds more flavor than the store-bought. If I’m in a pinch and don’t have lemon, I’ll use it instead. Microwave your lemon for a bit if it’s hard and/or roll it on the counter before you juice it and it will break down easier. If you just need a small amount, pierce your lemon with a fork and squeeze out, then remember to use it – later. I bag it and put it in the door of the fridge. Cost 15 cents.
- Garlic: I look for a price of about $2.99 a pound or about 54 cents a head. Check the pricing of the bulk per pound as opposed to the packaged. I never really find it on sale, but I use so much, I pay attention and buy a bit more when I see the price is lower. Cost: 2 cents.
Put Your own Spin on It:
- Tarragon is particularly good with Asparagus! Try other herbs as you see fit.
- Vinegar may sub for the lemon – and flavored vinegar would be wonderful.