Sauteed Asparagus with Tomato-Mozzarella Topping

Are you in need of a last minute side dish for the 4th? If so, I have the perfect recipe for you (really, even if you don’t need a recipe for tomorrow, I still think you’ll like this Thursday, Friday, or sometime next week). Asparagus is one of my favorite warmer weather vegetables, and what better way to celebrate summer than adding fresh tomatoes and a little bit of cheese to make it a truly memorable side dish?

I’ve tweaked the recipe a little – lightly sautéing the asparagus to get a little char on all sides (you could also grill them; I just haven’t yet conquered my oh-my-god-I’m-a-girl-I-can’t-possibly-use-the-grill phobia – maybe next year), using mozzarella instead of feta (though the latter would add a nice tang to the dish – really, use whatever cheese you love most and it will probably be fantastic), and taking great care in straining out some of the excess liquid to perfect the package. What you get is a side dish that is simple (not bland!) and delicious. The tomato-cheese topping would be equally good in other ways – I added some to my jalapeno chicken sausage sandwich and it was spot. On. I’ve also made the entire dish with an omelet, but grilled chicken or burgers would be great pairings, too.


Sauteed Asparagus with Tomato-Mozzarella Topping
This crisp veggie-full side dish is easy, fast, and perfect for your next summer cook-out.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes

The Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
½ - 1 onion, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 bunch asparagus
3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Method
Trim the asparagus of its tough ends by taking 1 spear and breaking it by hand where it naturally splits; use this spear as the guide for chopping the others. Set the asparagus aside. Place 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, just to warm the mixture through. Remove the tomato-onion mixture from the pan to a sieve set over a small bowl.

Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the same skillet you just used for the tomatoes, also set over medium-high. Arrange the asparagus in the skillet in as close to one even layer as possible. Sautee the asparagus, turning as necessary, until both sides are lightly brown, 5-10 minutes.

While the asparagus cooks, combine the strained tomato mixture with the mozzarella cheese. Season with pepper. When the asparagus is nearly done cooking, top the spears with the tomato-cheese mixture and cover for an additional minute or two, just to rewarm the tomato mixture, slightly melt the cheese, and finish cooking the asparagus. Transfer the dish to a platter and serve immediately.

Source, adapted: Annie’s Eats

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