Hello dear neighbors! Well it looks as if spring has finally decided to come our way in Europe. At the market I have seen fresh green asparagus and of course I couldn’t resist telling you about my favorite way of cooking them: drizzled in seasoned olive oil and baked in the oven. Nothing simpler: I let grated lemon zest marinate in the oil while I prepare the rest of the meal, which here was fish in a crumble. I have served this dish to my children and also a friend who came over to visit; she had never had asparagus this way, found it flavorful and in no need of adding any salt at all.
About asparagus and sulfites: as far as I can tell, in the past five years that we have been avoiding them, my husband has never reacted to fresh green asparagus. When buying them, I make sure they haven’t traveled too far, thus limiting the potential need for any preservatives. To keep the stems fresh until the day I cook them, I place them in a tall jar with some water at the bottom, like a bunch of flowers, and the last time around they were displayed on the window sill, North side, as there was no space left in the fridge!
Ingredients (serves 2)
– as many green asparagus as you like – for us, it’s about 3 to 4 asparagus per person
– some olive oil
– lemon zest from an ORGANIC lemon, to be grated; a tip: I always put empty lemon “shells” (what is left after you have squeezed the juice) in the freezer. It makes zesting and grating very easy. In the photo the lemon shells you see are actually still frozen.
For the crumble:
– 4 TBSP organic almond meal / flour
– 4 TBSP bread crumbs, gluten-free and without any additives; you can make your own by crushing gluten-free crispbread such as this (just make sure the ingredients are all natural):
As they come in a variety of flavors, you can choose the crispbread based on your own taste; personally I would avoid the chestnut flour crackers in this savory recipe.
– a pinch of all natural sea salt (optional)
– 1 TBSP non hydrogenated margarine (or butter if tolerated); you can also use 2 TBSP olive oil but will still need some margarine to help the crumble hold together.
SIDE NOTE: make sure you use a baking dish large enough to hold both the fish and asparagus in a single layer.
(Preheat your oven to 200°C / 390°F, no fan)
1. Grate the lemon zest in 1 TBSP olive oil and set aside to allow flavors to combine.
2. Prepare the crumble by mixing almond meal, bread crumbs and margarine / butter / oil. I usually finish the process by hand, “pinching” the mixture between my fingers to form xxx. Without the almond meal, the whole thing would just be too dry. Let’s not forget that our body also needs some fat!
3. Lightly brush some olive oil on the fish; this will help the crumble stick better.
4. Place fish (without the vegetables ) in the oven for 10 minutes.
5. Prepare asparagus in the mean time. Wash and cut off hard parts at the bottom of the stems. Sometimes you also need to peel some of the skin if it seems too fibrous. I was lucky: the asparagus I had bought were good quality and I did not waste much. Cut into small pieces and drizzle with lemony oil from step 1.
6. Add asparagus to the fish, in a single layer, and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Time will depend on your oven and the thickness of the asparagus.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. I took a long time translating it, as we had special guests, cat included, at our house for a week. She loves our South facing balcony where little lizards sometimes show up… the fools!
In the distance, past the shed, is the new plot of land dedicated to our potatoes this year. My husband had to dig up part of the front lawn to stay away from the white larvae (known as tuberworms) that decided to settle in our backyard last year, eating most of our crop!