Griddled asparagus and peppers

    55 min

    Here, spears of asparagus, spring onions and peppers are cooked on a ridged cast-iron grill pan, then mixed with oven-baked Parmesan croutons. If you haven't got a ridged grill pan, the vegetables can be sizzled under the grill instead. Serve as a starter, or as a side salad with grilled chicken or griddled tuna.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
    • 2 large red peppers, halved and seeded
    • 225 g (8 oz) spring onions
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • shavings of Parmesan cheese, about 15 g (½ oz) in total, to garnish
    • Parmesan croutons
    • 2 thick slices of bread, crusts removed and diced
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 30 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
    • salt and pepper
    • Lemon and basil dressing
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 16 fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
    • 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:25min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Heat a ridged cast-iron grill pan. Put the asparagus, peppers and spring onions in a bowl, add the oil and toss to coat.
    2. Arrange the asparagus and peppers in the hot grill pan, in one layer, and cook for 10 minutes or until tender, adding the spring onions after the asparagus and peppers have been cooking for a few minutes. Turn the vegetables frequently so they cook and colour evenly. (You may have to griddle the vegetables in 2 batches, depending on the size of the pan.)
    3. Meanwhile, make the croutons. Put the bread in a bowl with the oil and seasoning to taste and toss well. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle over the Parmesan cheese and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden and crisp.
    4. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a salad bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste. Roughly slice the griddled vegetables, add to the bowl and stir to coat with the dressing. Scatter the croutons over the top and garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan. Serve while still warm.

    Some more ideas

    For an impressive dinner party starter, leave the griddled asparagus and spring onions whole (omit the peppers) and toss with the dressing. Serve on toasted ciabatta slices with Parmesan shavings scattered over the top. * To make a griddled mango salad with chilli dressing, peel, stone and slice 1 large mango. Cook on a hot ridged grill pan with 1 red onion and 1 large green pepper, both cut into wedges, for 8–10 minutes or until tender. Chop roughly and put into a bowl with ½ tsp seeded and very finely chopped fresh red chilli, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander. Add 45 g (1½ oz) rocket and 25 g (scant 1 oz) cashew nuts, toss well and serve warm.

    Plus points

    Parmesan cheese is a good source of protein and a rich source of calcium, needed for strong bones and teeth. Although it has a high fat content, Parmesan also has a very strong and distinctive flavour, so a little goes a long way in a recipe. * Bread is an important part of a healthy diet as it is a very good source of starchy (complex) carbohydrate. It also contributes vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, and dietary fibre.

    Each serving provides

    A, B1, B6, C, E, folate * niacin, calcium, zinc * B2, iron, potassium

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