Some time ago, Payson Fruit Growers sent free samples of their juicy tart dried cherries and tart cherry juice concentrate for me to review. The dried cherries were perfect in the cherry pistachio orange cocoa couscous I made as part of my A Lotta Chocolate series, but it's taken me a long time to get to cooking with the concentrate. The reason behind the delay is probably not what you'd expect, however.
Now that both summer and that bottle are nearly exhausted, I'm finally experimenting with the little concentrate I have left. Today I used it to give my typically plain (salt and pepper) roasted asparagus a little cherry balsamic makeover. The concentrate and vinegar combine to give the spears a sweet and tangy kick that's downright addictive. I hope you'll give it a try -- I'm sure you'll love it too!
Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Balsamic Glaze and Toasted Almonds [Printable Recipe]
Serves 3 to 5 as a side
XIAOLU'S NOTES: I like to prepare asparagus by snapping off the tough ends of about 2 to 3 stalks to see where they break naturally. Then I use a knife to slice the remaining ends off at about that length. I like to line my baking sheet with a non-stick silicone mat, parchment paper, or aluminum foil sometimes to make the clean-up easier. Sometimes I make smaller batches of roasted veggies in my toaster oven, but keep the temperature closer to 375 degrees F since my toaster oven tends to burn things.
1 lb. asparagus
2 tsp olive oil [preferably extra virgin]
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp tart cherry juice concentrate OR pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wash asparagus, and snap/trim off the tough ends. Let water drain off for 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer asparagus to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Bake for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the balsamic vinegar and cherry juice concentrate together in a small bowl. Remove asparagus from oven, drizzle balsamic cherry mixture over the asparagus, mix to coat, then bake for 3 to 5 more minutes.
Transfer asparagus to serving plate and sprinkle toasted almonds on top. Enjoy!