Thank freakin’ goodness. It’s spring! I’m feeling it. Easter is less than a week away, crocuses are already just about done blooming, daffs are due to show their sunny faces any day now, and perfectly green, fresh asparagus is in the market.
Okay, so the first two days of spring were, weather-wise, pretty much the weirdest ever here in the Pacific Northwest. Mega wind gusts, bright shining sun, hail, sleet, rain, more bright shining sun, more wind gusts. And that was just day one. On the second day of spring, we woke up to snow.
Our little gal was wide-eyed as she peered out at the winter-white wonderland, and then even wider-eyed at how the pumped-up dogs spun around the yard in it. “Nahoww! Nahowww!” she ran around saying all day. It took us 15 minutes to bundle her up and get her out there, and about five minutes for her wonder to turn to tears when her mitten fell off and her hand sank into the shockingly cold stuff.
So we went back inside. And we made snow ice cream. And then like that, the winter wonderland was gone – melted by afternoon. But the next day! Gorgeous, sunny, and, yes – spring-like.
Sunny and spring-like, just like this asparagus.
Last year I was all about the balsamic-marinated asparagus, but this year, I’ve been craving something a little lighter and brighter. Lemon was the natural choice. It’s already a solid partner for asparagus, and I’m a sucker for a good lemon vinaigrette. Done.
This super lemony marinated asparagus comes together quickly, and it’s a terrific make-ahead appetizer or side. Par-boiled asparagus chills in a lemon vinaigrette for several hours – then when you’re ready, you just whip it out of the refrigerator and serve.
A little bit of spring on a platter, no matter what kind of craziness is going on outside.
Lemony Marinated Asparagus
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar also work)
- 1 teaspoon honey (or agave syrup for a vegan version)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Snap or trim the tough ends of the asparagus and discard. Wash asparagus thoroughly.
- Fill a large bowl with water and ice. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot filled 3/4 of the way full with water to a full boil. Immerse asparagus and cook for about two minutes, until bright green.
- Plunge asparagus in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain.
- Lay asparagus in an 8 x 8 baking dish or container.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasons if desired.
- Pour vinaigrette over asparagus. Cover dish and refrigerate for 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.
- Remove asparagus from marinade and serve.