Snapped Asparagus with Charmoula

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snapped asparagus

Snapping the ends off of asparagus spears is one of the more mindless, meditative tasks in the kitchen. But listen closely and the snap itself brings a perverse satisfaction of its own. (Is it an asparagus stalk or your obnoxiously loud neighbor’s neck? You decide.)

The chermoula topping is a tangy North African condiment that takes muscle, just like its pesto counterpart. Instead of the food processor, you can mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle with the salt and spices, then slowly sprinkle in the parsley and cilantro, and finally the olive oil and lemon. If you have any leftover, jar the extra chermoula to serve with fish and other vegetables.

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Snapped Asparagus with Charmoula

Tara Duggan and Rachel Levin’s new book, STEAMED: A Catharsis Cookbook for Getting Dinner and Your Feelings on the Table, is a humorous take on all the emotions we bring to the kitchen, especially after a long day spent working during quarantine. As such, they note that the book is “dedicated to everyone who cooked their way through 2020 — and beyond,” and when it comes to this recipe “snapping the ends off of asparagus spears is one of the more mindless, meditative tasks in the kitchen. But listen closely and the snap itself brings a perverse satisfaction of its own. (Is it an asparagus stalk or your obnoxiously loud neighbor’s neck? You decide.)”

  • Author: Tara Duggan and Rachel Levin
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: vegetables
  • Method: roast
  • Cuisine: California

Ingredients

CHERMOULA

1 garlic clove

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive

oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons as needed

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

ASPARAGUS

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)

1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

TO MAKE THE CHERMOULA:

Place the garlic in a food processor and process until chopped. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and pulse to combine. Add the parsley and cilantro leaves and process until finely pureed. Slowly add the 1/3 cup of olive oil and then the lemon juice. Season to taste with more salt, spices, and/or lemon juice; you can also add another 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil to balance the flavors.

TO ROAST THE ASPARAGUS:

Hold an asparagus stalk in your nondominant hand with the bottom facing out. Grasp the end and snap where it bends naturally to remove the woody end. Continue with the remaining asparagus.

Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt. Rotate the asparagus to coat in the oil. Roast in the hottest part of the oven until the tips are crispy and the thick part of the stalk is cooked through when poked with a knife;the time ranges from 15 minutes for pencil-thin asparagus to 20 to 25 minutes for superthick ones. Turn once during cooking.

Serve the asparagus right away on a platter, drizzled with the chermoula.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2-4

Keywords: asparagus, charmoula