I have been restraining myself from splashing out on asparagus for a while. I inquire, hopefully, as to the cost of a bundle every time I see some good specimens at the shuk and so far this year have always had those hopes dashed by the response – usually in the area of NIS 35 shekels for a relatively small bundle. I’ve continued to check just in case the price drops but to no avail.
This evening, I treated my 3 year old to her dream dinner of pizza and ice cream. On our way, we popped into the local greengrocer to pick up some cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and I was greeted by some good looking asparagus for a “mere” NIS 23. Well – what the hell – I figured that if I was treating her then I could also treat myself!
After my daughter was fed, watered and tucked up in bed, I pulled out some chicken and made a speedy marinade of all the things that I love most and keep around the kitchen or garden: rosemary, thyme, lemon zest and juice, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Give me any of these, in any sort of combination and I’m a happy camper! I beat these all up a bit in my pestle and mortar and threw the resulting mixture into a ziplock with chicken thighs and drumsticks. Ideally these should be left for as long as possible to soak up flavours but I was short on time – the result was still pretty good!
The chicken can either go in the oven to roast or on the grill – I love going out on our porch and fulfilling that primal urge to cook meat with fire – preferably with a beer in hand but in this case I opted for the inside option as I had other stuff to do around the kitchen.
The asparagus was pretty skinny so I opted to simply cook them on a hot grill pan, together with some of the cherry tomatoes. Straight into the hot pan, turning occasionally – all cooked in 4 or 5 minutes. I decided to pep it up with a little dijon vinaigrette but it would have been marvelous as is or with a little sea salt scattered over. A very delicious and attractive plate.
2 chicken leg sections, divided into thigh and drumstick (or whatever part of the chicken you prefer)
1/2 a bundle of asparagus (or however much you think is good for 2 people)
12 – 16 cherry tomatoes – on the vine is great for presentation
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon
leaves from 2 branches of rosemary
leaves of 2 sprigs of thyme (if using fresh rosemary and thyme, run your fingers down the branches, the leaves should come off easily and your fingers will smell good!)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
good lug of olive oil
salt and pepper
For the dijon vinaigrette:
1/2 tsp grainy dijon mustard (I usually add more)
1/2 tbsp vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Make your marinade by pounding the herbs together with the other ingredients in a pestle and mortar. Alternatively, chopped everything finely and mix.
Put your chicken pieces in a zip lock or other sealable plastic bag together with the marinade and leave for as long as you have – overnight is ideal.
Bake in a hot oven for 30 – 40 minutes depending on the size of your pieces of chicken – it should take a little less on a grill.
Shake the vinaigrette ingredients together in a glass jar.
Heat a grill pan, grill or broiler and add the asparagus and tomatoes. Cook, turning occasionally for 5 – 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and dressing with the vinaigrette