While the Evanston air can’t yet decide if it’s ready to be spring, the seasons have already changed in the soil and nothing proves this more than asparagus, which is already reaching its peak season. Right now, this versatile veggie’s stalks are at their most sugary state and make for a tender, sweet bite that’s worlds away from the bland and chewy imported stuff you’ll find year-round. When shopping for asparagus, look for firm, crisp and bright stalks with tightly closed budding tips. This dish is a simple way to enjoy the fresh legume. It’s packed with protein and will fill you up while revitalizing your wintery taste buds by combining savory lentils, nutty browned butter, earthy, caramelized asparagus and tangy-sweet balsamic.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
20 asparagus spears (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup lentils, cooked
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Snap tough ends of asparagus off, then toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil until coated.
3. Arrange flat on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake for 12 minutes, or until tender.
4. Meanwhile, bring butter to a boil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring frequently, until light brown specks appear and butter smells nutty.
5. Meanwhile, toast cooked lentils by heating 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet and adding lentils. Stir in paprika, garlic powder and onion powder. Cook until lentils are lightly browned and crispy.
6. Remove butter from heat once browned and stir in balsamic vinegar, adding more to taste if desired. In a large bowl, mix with roasted asparagus until coated.
7. To fry egg, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, then crack egg in center of pan. Cook until whites are just set, or about 5 minutes.
8. Place roasted asparagus atop toasted lentils, then slide fried egg on top. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with remaining browned butter-balsamic dressing and serve warm.
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