This week has been a complete whirl wind. In the past 72 hours I've gotten so much work done that I've even impressed myself. We're busy preparing for a 4 day show in Seattle this weekend that will have us on our feet from 9 in the morning to around 10 at night.
I've been doing little else, and although I've still been in the kitchen and cooking, it's mostly been familiar foods I make all the time that are quick and easy to prepare, while still giving us both nourishment for pulling all nighters. Makes me thankful that asparagus are in season right now because they are such an easy and fast cooking veggie to turn to on those days where you have little time to spend in the kitchen.
I also had a bit of fennel leftover from a salad I made earlier in the week. I hate to waste anything and it was getting close to its end, so I decided into the oven it would go, along with the asparagus. Have you even eaten roasted fennel? It really is a wonderful thing. Just as with many vegetables, it takes on a whole new depth of flavor, much different then its raw form. I know many people are turned off by fennel because of it's licorice like flavor when raw, but when roasted there's only a hint of it and it becomes something more complex and hard to describe, but well worth a try.
It's a holiday weekend in the US, so I'm sure many of you will be cooking on the grill outside. You can prepare the asparagus the same way right alongside what you're barbequing on the grill too. Prepare the asparagus as below, then place everything into a large piece of tin foil. Add the toasted nuts at the end however. Fold in the ends and sides so its all wrapped up and place it on the grill away from the center where the heat is the hottest. Depending on how firm you like your asparagus, you can cook it from 5-12 minutes. Remove from heat, open and serve. They'd make a perfect companion next to these teriyaki portobello burgers too. The hazelnuts were great with this, but almonds or walnuts would be other great options. If you'd like you can also add a few shavings of Parmesan at the end before serving.
Roasted Asparagus and Fennel
1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
1 small fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
2-4 whole garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 400˚F.
Place the asparagus, fennel, and garlic into a baking dish or baking pan with sides. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands to get an even coating.
Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with hazelnuts and add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve warm.