As spring nears and seasonal veggies like asparagus begin to appear, it's fun to simplify recipes and let the veggies themselves take center stage. Here fresh asparagus spears are simply roasted in the oven to concentrate their flavor and coated in tahini (sesame paste) then tossed with toasted sesame seeds, lemon juice, and sea salt. You can leave out the toasting of the seeds if you wish to save a few minutes, but it really does intensify the flavor and make them extra special. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of much needed minerals and calcium so use them liberally in your cooking for maximum benefit. Plus they taste great!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place washed and dried asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes until bright green and tender. They may brown in some spots, this is good.
While cooking asparagus, toast sesame seeds in a skillet on LOW heat (they burn easily). Stir them pretty continuously, in five to ten minutes they will start to smell toasty, and be browning slightly. Take them off heat and set them aside.
When asparagus is done place on a wide plate and drizzle tahini and lemon juice over top. Toss them to coat. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds and toss again. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.
You can leave out the toasting of the seeds if you wish to save a few minutes, but it really does intensify the flavor and make them extra special.
Renee Press is the founder of Fire and Earth Kitchen in Seattle WA. which offers cooking classes, food coaching, and chef services. She's on a mission to make vegan, gluten-free cooking easy, accessible, and delicious for everyone. fireandearthkitchen.com