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Spring might have sprung over a month ago, but the seasonal shift with regards to our dinner plates didn’t really happen until now – with the first asparagus of the year. They’re almost holy, the very first spears we dig into! And the more precious the vegetable, the simpler preparation we tend to prefer – I mean, a peak season ear of corn just slathered in some butter and salt? New potatoes boiled with dill? Sugar snap peas just as is? And who thinks a still-warm-from-the-sun tomato needs any additions? Asparagus definitely belongs to the same category. Sautéed or grilled with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt is by far our go-to way of preparation, and it satisfies us each and every time. A delicious dip or sauce on the side could both make the presentation a bit prettier and the flavor buds even happier, however – so that’s what we’ve done here. We love different versions of romesco sauce any day, and made it here with sun-dried tomatoes as the main ingredient. The saltiness of them goes perfectly with the crunchy, earthy asparagus spears (without overpowering anything) and, well, lends a simple yet elegant spring dish. Whether you serve it as a stand-alone first course or as part of a main dish, we’ll let you decide. We hope you’ll like it!
Serves 4 as a first course or appetizer
1/2 dl toasted almonds (~30 g)
1 slice bread (~25 g), crust removed and torn into small pieces (think sourdough/country loaf type of deal)
6 sun-dried tomatoes (~60 g), roughly chopped
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp + a drizzle of olive oil
1 dl water
1/4 tsp sambal oelek
250 g asparagus
- Reserve 10-12 almonds for serving, and then go ahead and place the rest in a food processor. Add the bread, sun-dried tomatoes, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, water and sambal oelek. Blend until smooth. No additional salt should be needed thanks to the sun-dried tomatoes, so season to taste with black pepper only. Set aside. Then slice the reserved almonds thinly and set aside as well.
- Over high heat, sauté the asparagus spears in a tiny drizzle of olive oil (avoid any greasiness) for a few minutes or until they’ve taken on a few char marks.
- For serving, place a dollop of sauce on the plate and top with asparagus and a sprinkle of almonds.