Lemon sauce dresses up roasted asparagus

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This lemon sauce is such a simple way to dress up roasted asparagus, the pinup vegetable of spring ... or any simply cooked asparagus for that matter, such as grilled, steamed or sauteed. In fact, this sauce is also a quick and easy way to dress up pretty much any plainly cooked vegetable, from potatoes to green beans to broccoli.

The sauce is vivid with citrus and a bit (not too much!) of hot sauce. The creaminess comes from creme fraiche, and sour cream or Greek yogurt could be substituted in if you like. You can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a few days.

If you are using thicker asparagus, think about peeling the lower parts of the stalks, which results in a stalk that is tender from stem to stern. After trimming the bottom inch or so off the asparagus, simply take a vegetable peeler and peel off the green outer layer (which can be tough) from the bottom of the stalk, roughly 2-3 inches.

Lastly, if you would like to add a sprinkle of fresh herbs on top, anything from parsley to basil to chervil would be lovely. Another great option would be to drape a slice of prosciutto over each portion of dressed asparagus, which could also make a stylish appetizer.



Roasted asparagus with creamy lemon dressing


Serves 6 to 8

Start to finish: 25 minutes



INGREDIENTS:


Roasted asparagus:

2 pounds medium-thick asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Lemon dressing:

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons creme fraiche, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha, or to taste

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the bottom 2 inches from the asparagus and, if desired, peel the lower 2 inches of the stalks. Place the asparagus in a shallow baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Don't worry if the stalks overlap a bit. Drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil over them and toss gently to coat the asparagus evenly. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper, toss again and spread out in the pan.

Roast the asparagus for about 10 minutes, until just tender and slightly browned. Remember that they will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven, so take them out while they're still a little firmer than you would like.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, cr me fraiche and Sriracha until smooth. Slowly pour in the 1/3 cup olive oil, whisking all the while until the dressing is thick, then season with salt and pepper.

Let the asparagus cool slightly, and while still warm drizzle some of the lemon sauce over it. Serve right away with the rest of the sauce passed on the side for people to add if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 157 calories; 123 calories from fat; 14 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 4 mg cholesterol; 154 mg sodium; 6 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 3 g protein.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman



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