Saturday, September 12, 2009

Until we meet again, my dear asparagus.

It feels good to be back. As you know I was recently laid off from my 9-5, and I thought that instead of lounging around in my PJ's here, it would be a great time to go spend some quality time with my family up in Minnesota. It was a week full of good friends, great food, and a lot of relaxation. There were many great meals, and lots of wonderful wine, but the company and support I received from my friends and family was just what I needed to recharge. The trip also left me quite a bit behind on my blog, and now its time to play catch up!

After making a big vat of hummus one weekend, I found myself with a whole tub of tahini leftover. I have never cooked with tahini before besides using it in hummus, so I went to Epicurious to see if they had any suggestions. There, I found a recipe for Roast chicken with asparagus and tahini sauce. At the time I made this, the asparagus season was waning, so it seemed like the perfect excuse to grab some of the last little sprigs of the summer.

This dish was bright and creamy, and the preparation for the chicken was something I will definitely be applying to other chicken dishes. It was easy and fast, great for a weeknight meal if you are one of those people who still have 9-5 jobs :-).

Roast Chicken with Asparagus and Tahini Sauce
Adapted from
(my notes in green)


2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves - I used two whole skinless boneless chicken breasts, because that was what was on sale
1/3 cup tahini paste
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice - I used lime juice instead
1 teaspoon sugar
1 garlic glove minced - I used two because I LOVE garlic, just be sure to mince it very very finely

Preheat oven to 450, with the racks in the middle and lower third of the oven.

Toss the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, or glass baking dish and set aside.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. (I used my 13-inch All-Clad French Skillet, which I love...some would say I love this pan an abnormal amount, but I digress)

When the oil is hot, place the chicken in carefully and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on how large your breasts are. (I am still talking chicken here. Sorry I am still a ten year old inside and cant resist a boob joke) Once the chicken is browned, place in the oven on the top rack and roast until cooked through.

If you are using smaller breast halves, place the asparagus in the oven at the same time as the chicken, it should take about 10 minutes to roast the asparagus and 5-10 minutes for the chicken. If you are using very large whole breasts, I would wait 5-10 minutes before placing the asparagus in, as the chicken will take longer, about 15-20 minutes. Remember the chicken can always rest for a while under tin foil if the asparagus is not done in time.

While the chicken and asparagus roast, combine the tahini, water, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lime juice in a bowl and whisk together. The recipe calls for using a blender, but I think as long as you mince the garlic fine enough, it shouldn't be necessary.

Once everything is cooked, plate and drizzle the tahini sauce over the top. I served mine on top of some whole wheat pasta, but that is entirely optional.

Since it is no longer asparagus season, this dish would be great with any other roasted veggie, such as brussels sprouts or even carrots. Enjoy!

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