Roasted Asparagus Pesto Dip w/ Pepper Crackers
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© Brian Bowen Smith
Asparagus is loaded with fiber; vitamins A, C, E, and K; and a handful of minerals, making it one of the healthiest vegetables. It’s also touted for its antioxidants and potential to boost memory and slow the aging process. In other words, these slender stalks offer much more than the versatility I love. I start roasting asparagus as soon as it begins appearing in my farmers’ market in the early spring; it heralds a favorite time of year. Inevitably, I have leftovers, and if I don’t want them in my eggs the next morning, I make this wonderful pesto dip with feta and Cheddar cheeses. An abundance of herbs keeps it fresh and light tasting. The lemon-pepper panko adds a textural element and lemony verve for a fresh-tasting crowd-pleaser.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bake until slightly softened and lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Keep the oven on at 400°F.
2. Meanwhile, process the feta, Cheddar, mayonnaise, basil, parsley, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor until the herbs are uniformly chopped and the ingredients are well combined. Add the asparagus, and process until roughly chopped.
3. Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 1-quart baking dish. Stir together the panko and melted butter; sprinkle over the asparagus mixture. Bake until the mixture is warmed through and slightly bubbly and the panko is light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serve with the crackers or crudités.
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 firmly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup lemon-pepper panko (Japanese -style breadcrumbs)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Crackers or crudités
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