Asparagus-Shitake Side

Continuing with Mediterranean week, last night I made fish with rice, and a stand-out side of asparagus, shitakes, and grape tomatoes. I wanted something colorful and green to round out the meal and brighten up our plates. I steamed a bunch of asparagus, and roasted some garlic as the fish cooked. I added these to a skillet in which I was cooking minced garlic, crushed red pepper, shitakes, and halved grape tomatoes, sprinkled a touch of feta on top, and placed it in the oven for five minutes to let the flavors meld. The resulting side was so delicious, I could have eaten it as the main course!

Asparagus-Shitake Side

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 6 cloves of garlic, whole
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
  • Shitakes, stems removed, sliced
  • Grape tomatoes, halved (I used about a cup’s worth)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375. Wrap whole garlic cloves in aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil and place in the warmest part of the oven. They can go in while it preheats, and they should be done in 30-45 minutes. My fish took 30 minutes to cook at 375, and the garlic, which I’d placed on the floor of the oven, was perfectly soft when the fish was done.

Steam the asparagus so that it is slightly tender, but still retains some crunch. Lightly coat a cast iron or other oven-safe skilled with olive oil and place on medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper and let cook for two-three minutes, or until garlic begins to turn golden, but is not browned. Add shitakes, and coat with oil mixture. Add tomatoes and cook until shitakes are tender. Add the steamed asparagus stalks to the dish, season with salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice, and toss so that it’s all incorporated. Sprinkle feta on top, and pumpkin seeds, if using, and place in the oven for five minutes, or just until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve warm.

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