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Delicate, Dainty and Delicious – Prawn and Asparagus Heaven

This is a delicious and easy dish by Alicia which makes use of one of our favourite seasonal, springtime veggies… Asparagus! Available in white and green varieties, asparagus is delicate, dainty and delicious. It is also packed with health benefits which have been recognised since ancient times and many believe that asparagus contains aphrodisiac properties too… so either way it’s a win/win situation, folks!

We all know that asparagus is best enjoyed just as it is — it doesn’t need much doing to it as it is so glorious in its own right. However, this is a good option if you want a change from the usual asparagus combinations (which tend to be quite calorific) of melted butter, hollandaise sauces, parmesan shavings and creamy soups and quiches. This recipe is just a different way to try it — variety is the spice of life after all! If you’re an asparagus purist, you may shudder at the thought of this and that is totally cool with us. We are not going to force you out of your asparagus comfort zone. Promise.

We’ve put this dish in the “Skinny Jeans” section as it has all the criteria we look for — low carb, low sugar, low calorie and low fat but still filling, tasty and nutritious with no sense of deprivation. Asparagus is rich in fibre which keeps you feeling full and the prawns/seafood provide protein which will keep your blood sugar levels stable for longer… this means that you shouldn’t experience a sudden energy dip which quite often leads to running at high speed towards a plate of biscuits/cakes/chocolates — you know what we’re talking about!

This is an extremely versatile dish — once you’re used to it you can play around with the recipe – change the herbs you use, add more or less chilli, maybe a dash of lemon instead of the balsamic. We’ve kept a little light on the quantities of flavours used here as, ultimately, we want to make sure that the taste of the asparagus still shines through. Anyway, this really isn’t a recipe which needs quantities/measurements — but we have included some just for guidance — but feel free to scale this up or down as you need to.

A quick note — you can’t substitute the balsamic vinegar for any other type of vinegar… the beauty of balsamic is that it gives a mellow depth to the dish but also a sweetness as well which is perfect for balancing out the natural tang of the tomatoes without drastically spiking the sugar content of the meal. You don’t need to use a super expensive, long-aged balsamic here — save that for your salads — just an ordinary one will work fine for this dish.

Those of you who have been reading our recipes regularly will have noticed that we do have a preference for fast and easy dishes and we tend to cook in a way which means weighing/measuring isn’t always necessary. This dish can literally be thrown together, cooked from scratch and ready for eating within minutes. We’re not too proud to admit that we’re a little lazy and a lot greedy — it’s as simple as that really.

 

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • one finely chopped small Onion
  • 1 clove of Garlic crushed/finely chopped (use garlic paste if you don’t have fresh/frozen)
  • a 400g tin of chopped Tomatoes or similar quantity of passata (tip – you can buy tinned tomatoes/passata with garlic/herbs in them.)
  • a level teaspoon of Herbes de Provence/Mixed Herbs of your choice.
  • optional – a pinch of Chilli powder/dried, flaked Chilli
  • 1 bundle/packet of Asparagus (around 125-150g)
  • 150-200g of fresh or frozen Prawns (you could also use scallops, squid, mussels)
  • up to a tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for dressing.

 

How to make it:

Gently heat the olive oil in a saucepan — just until it is warm. Tip the chopped onion into it and fry until the onion is just turning a light golden brown. Then add your tin of tomatoes/ passata and also the chopped garlic (adding the garlic once the tomatoes are in the pan means that it won’t burn and turn bitter.) Let the mixture cook gently and reach a slow simmer.

While the sauce is simmering, cut the asparagus into pieces around an inch long. If the base of the asparagus seems quite woody, then don’t use that portion as it won’t be tender even after cooking — let’s face it, no one wants to eat something that feels like a twig. Then add the asparagus pieces to the simmering sauce so that they can cook. Use a bit of common sense here — if your asparagus is thin, it will cook fast, if it’s thick, it’ll need longer.

Once the asparagus seems about half cooked, throw in the prawns and, if they are pre-cooked, just warm them through. If the prawns are raw, watch them turn a pretty pink colour — their very darling way of telling you that they are done!! Just be careful not to overheat/overcook the prawns as you’ll turn them into tough little bullets — it’ll still taste nice but the texture won’t be as lovely as it should be!

Once the prawns are heated/cooked, taste the sauce and add half the balsamic vinegar and stir it through. Check the sauce again and decide whether you want to add the rest of the vinegar and then season with a little good quality salt and pepper  — but keep in mind that too much salt isn’t good for you — so use the lowest quantity (but highest quality) that you can!

You can serve this in a bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil for a hit of good fat and, for those of you who want some carb action, with a nice bit of good quality bread (or gluten free substitute) which has been toasted, rubbed with a little garlic and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil. Either way it is yummy!

Give this recipe a go! If you liked what you read, please click the “follow us” section which you will find on the right hand of each page — you will make our day! (If you sign up to follow by email, then you will receive an email to your inbox which you will need to acknowledge/confirm.) You can also find us on Twitter and Instagram as @TeamGDSJ — so do lend us your support there and tell your friends too!

 

 

 

 

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