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Asparagus, Arugula & Hazelnuts

You can learn a lot sitting on the tailgate of a pickup truck. That’s where my buddy Chris, from Zuckerman’s Farm, used to sit me down and teach me about all things asparagus. Chris worked hard – awfully hard – as a farmer. He was true salt of the earth, and as generous as they come. Normally, there’s an invisible line: farmers behind their wares and buyers on the other side, but Chris always insisted I "step into his parlor." Both of us were always so excited when the first asparagus of the season showed up. He’d put aside a bunch for me, and then we’d both hop up on that tailgate and talk – about recipes, how amazingly nutritious asparagus is, and, a lot of the time, about life and family. Chris passed away not long ago, and I felt the best way I could honor him was to create a recipe featuring his favorite veggie. I think he would have enjoyed this, and I hope you will too.
-Rebecca Katz, author of The Longevity Kitchen cookbook


1/3 cup hazelnuts

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peeled (see note*)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper

4 cups loosely packed arugula

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

  2. Put the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
  3. Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.
  4. Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
  5. Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.

Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.

*Cook’s Note: Peeling the asparagus gets rid of the stringy, sometimes tough outer layer and exposes the sweet flesh underneath. To peel it, use a regular vegetable peeler with a light touch to shave off just the skin. This technique is not necessary with thin asparagus spears.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Makes 4 servings

Per Serving:
Calories: 190
Total Fat: 15.5 g (2 g saturated, 12 g mono-unsaturated)
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Protein: 7 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 210 mg

Recipe courtesy of The Longevity Kitchen, by Rebecca Katz, MS


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