Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables year-round, but I tend to reach for it most it in the summertime. It’s bright and hearty and it’s also a very pretty ingredient. I like it steamed by itself, in dishes like pasta, and especially roasted in the oven. I decided to add some red bell pepper and shiitake mushrooms and was so happy with the way the dish turned out, that I had to share. I started by toasting some sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they started to turn a light golden color and then immediately removed from the heat. The pan will hold its heat for a while, so remove them before they are completely done toasting.
While the sesame seeds were toasting, I cleaned the asparagus and bell pepper and mushrooms. I did not cut the asparagus, I simply bent them at the end and where they naturally snapped is where I trimmed them. It only takes a few minutes and it’s an easy way to be sure you are only eating the most tender part of the vegetable. For the red bell peppers, I just sliced them up lengthwise and then cut the slices in half to create bite-sized pieces and for the mushrooms, since shiitake mushrooms are so rustic, I just tore them by hand. I spread all the veggies out onto a cookie sheet and added minced garlic and olive oil, salt and pepper and mixed everything together with my hands (that’s the best way to make sure everything is combined really well), then roasted in the oven for 10 minutes.
When the veggies came out of the oven, I sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds and served. They have a wonderful, earthy flavor from the mushrooms and asparagus and the garlic and sesame seeds create a nice flavor combination that makes them taste like they took a lot of preparation instead of only minutes. This is a great summer dish to serve to guests during a cookout, or an easy weeknight side dish. I hope you will give them a try! Please be sure to take a photo and tag #ketchumkitchen on Social Media. I would love to see your creations!