Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Purée
Part of living a shamanic way of life is tuning into the seasons — and one of my favorite ways to celebrate the seasons is through food. Before it’s officially summer, let’s celebrate with some spring green magic . . .
Here in Colorado, the farmers markets are full of fresh bunches of bright green asparagus shoots. I’m usually incapable of actually following recipes—I’ll replace spinach with nettle from the garden, add 4x the suggested spices, or throw in some lemon zest just because I love it—but when I came across this recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree from Michael Natkin, I felt inspired to follow it as closely as possible to see what would happen.
Deliciousness. That’s what happened.
Perfectly roasted asparagus served over a smokey pistachio purée, topped with fresh tarragon from the garden—this is a late spring dish you’ll want to make before the season is over.
I learned a few new tricks while taking the time to follow this recipe, but still made it my own by discovering some mouthwatering ways to serve the leftovers.
This entire dish took just a little over half an hour to put together, including the cooking times. It’s impressive and easy. Go for it.
Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Purée
2 cups unsalted, roasted pistachios*
juice of one organic medium-sized lemon
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup water
1 bunch organic asparagus spears, the fat kind, trimmed
extra virgin olive oil
organic balsamic vinegar reduction*
1/4 cup unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
fresh tarragon leaves (from the garden, if possible!)
Combine the roasted pistachios with the lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and half the olive oil in a vitamix. (The original recipe uses a regular blender, so don’t shy away if you haven’t yet gone pro with your blending utensils.)
With the lid on and at a medium-low speed, drizzle in the rest of the olive oil followed by the water. Blend until mostly smooth but not totally creamy—you’ll want a bit of texture here.
Once the initial ingredients are blended, you can tweak the flavor if needed. I added a bit more salt (I like salt) and another pinch of smoked paprika, but overall, I didn’t feel the need to change much at all. Make sure to keep the puree covered, as the beautiful green will oxidize and turn brown on top, just like guacamole.
As soon as you take the pistachios out of the oven, turn up the heat to 400 F. Toss the asparagus with a bit of olive oil and salt, and roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
Once the asparagus is tender, turn on the broiler and cook until it becomes blackened in spots. This last step is important—the crispy asparagus heads and crunchy black bits add a great texture to the final dish.
Spoon the pistachio purée onto a plate and place the asparagus on top. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over everything, drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction*, and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves. Add a bit more salt to taste.
I bought raw, unsalted, organic pistachios, so I needed to roast them myself. In order to do this:
Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Spread the pistachios in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Cook for about 10-12 minutes.
The nuts will be warm, chewy, and slightly brown when done. Yum.
I decided to try my hand at making my own reduction. It worked perfectly, and I’ll definitely be making more. To make your own reduction:
Pour a bit of balsamic vinegar into a small pot or pan.
Bring to a boil.
Add sugar—I think I used equal parts organic unrefined sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Reduce to medium-high heat and continuously whisk the mixture until it reduces by half or just a bit more.
More Pistachio Puree Ideas
This recipe makes far more puree than you’ll need—after all, it’s basically a fancy nut butter. Luckily, it keeps for up to a week in the fridge and is so delicious you’ll be happy to have extra.
Natkin recommends serving the leftovers with other types of veggies, such as raw endive or roasted cauliflower. I used a bit of my leftovers as a dip for baby carrots, and heated the rest up in the oven to make a hot dip for some homemade bread. I highly recommend heating up the leftovers. The hot dip was gooey and yummy and rich—yet totally vegan. It would make a great sauce for pasta, as well.
Did you try this recipe? Let me know how you liked it! Tag me on Instagram @alchemessence.