Roasted Asparagus Pesto Dip
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© Brian Bowen Smith
Asparagus is loaded with fiber, and vitamins A, C, E and K, and a handful of minerals, making it one of the healthiest vegetables. Asparagus is 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 they begin appearing in my farmer’s market in the early spring; it heralds a favorite time of year. Inevitably, I have leftovers, and if I don’t want to them in my eggs the next morning, I make this wonderful pesto dip. The feta, cheddar cheeses, and an abundance of herbs keep it fresh and light tasting. The lemon pepper panko adds a textural element. It tastes very lemony and fresh with a nice mixture of herbs and asparagus and is a fresh-tasting crowd-pleaser.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil; sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Bake in the preheated oven until slightly softened and lightly charred, about 10 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, pulse 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 pulse 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.
4. Bake at 400°F 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 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh 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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