Roasted Asparagus topped with Fresh Pea Chevre Pesto and Mandarin Sea Salt

I absolutely love this dish!  Asparagus with a fresh pea pesto just screams spring.  The fresh pea pesto adds a delightful richness and pairs so well with the asparagus.  The mandarin salt adds a nice touch of citrusy salty crunch.

Roasted-Asparagus-with-Pea-Pesto

 I am very blessed to have such an amazing mom.  My mom is one of the most compassionate people I know.  Her whole life has been all about healing and helping people.  When I was a toddler, she put herself through nursing school while working the graveyard shift in a hospital.  When I was a teenager, she learned how to do acupressure and hypnotherapy.   She would give her friends and family free treatments.  Whenever I had a friend in need of a place to stay, she would let them stay with us until they had a place to go.  She has rescued more animals than I can count and fosters small dogs until she finds them a new home.  She has worked as a Hospice nurse helping people transition as well as helping their families cope for many years now.  I could go on and on!

Time flies and it is easy to let a lot of time go by without connecting with the ones we love.

If I lived closer to my mom, I would spend Mother’s day with her and I would make this dish with some French bread and wine.  If you are lucky enough to still have your mom in your life, hug her, call her and tell her how much you love her!

Roasted-Asparagus

This is a great dish paired with a crisp Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino or a Prosecco.

_Asparagus-with-Fresh-Pea-Pesto

 Recipe: 

Pea Pesto – 1 1/2 Cups (you can halve this recipe or spread the extra on some French bread and serve alongside the asparagus)

  • 1 Pound (3/4 cup peas) Fresh Pea Pods
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Chevre Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Mandarin Salt

Whole batch

  • 1 box – (1 1/4 Cup) Maldon Salt
  • Zest of 4 – 8 Mandarin Oranges – depends on how much citrus you want (I used 5, which is mild)

Small batch

  • 1/4 Cup Maldon Salt
  • Zest of 1 – 2 Mandarin Orange

Asparagus

  • 1 Bunch Asparagus
  • 2  Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sliced Almonds – to taste

 Instructions:

Pesto 
  Remove peas from their pods, measure and put into a pot of filtered water.  Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and leave in the water for 1 minute.  (use a timer) Drain in a colander and rinse with cold filtered water.  Let cool.

When peas are cool, put them along with all the pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender.  Puree.

Mandarin Salt

Pre-heat oven to 225 degrees.
I included a whole recipe for the salt if you desire to use it on other dishes or you can make the smaller batch for this recipe only.
Zest the mandarins with a microplaner, spread the zest out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Take out and separate any clumps with your fingers and put back in for 5 additional minutes and then repeat separation of any remaining clumps and put back in for the final 2 minutes.
Put salt into food processor and pulse about 5 times to break it down just a bit.
Mix the zest with the salt.
Asparagus

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash the asparagus and COMPLETELY dry.   Snap off the tough ends and discard.  (If they are thick, peel the outside.  Mine were thin so I didn’t peel them.)  Place them on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil over the asparagus.  With your hands, gently coat the asparagus evenly and spread out to a single layer. Place on the top rack of your oven and bake for 5 – 8 minutes, depending on how thick they are.

Assemble

You can serve it like I have in my photos or put the pesto and mandarin salt into bowls and let your guest add their own amount.

Roasted-Asparagus-with-Fresh-Pea-Pesto

Health benefits:

 Asparagus is a good source of fiber that helps to regulate blood sugar and also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. Asparagus has impressive anti-inflammatory properties and helps to flush out toxins in the kidneys and prevent kidney stones.  It is rich in glutathione; a compound that is helps break down carcinogens and is an anti-oxidants that help remove harmful oxidant free radicals from the body.  It is high in beta-carotene, vitamin-C, B-complex, E and folates.  The folate helps B12 absorb easier, which is great for vegetarians. Asparagus also contains fair amounts of vitamin A and K. Vitamin K has a potential role in bone health.

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