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OPINION | FRONT BURNER: Cardamom, orange enliven asparagus

by Kelly Brant | February 3, 2021 at 2:08 a.m.
Broiled Asparagus With Cardamom and Orange (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Kelly Brant)

Cardamom is not a spice I had considered for asparagus. But one bite of this and I was hooked.

The bittersweet marmalade, woodsy cardamom and rich butter combined for a taste sensation I hadn't experienced before, and one I couldn't make myself stop eating.

Because I'm the sole asparagus eater in my house, I halved the recipe and ate the whole thing -- a full pound of asparagus. It was that good.

I had a little of the butter-marmalade mixture left over. It was delicious spread on whole-grain toast for breakfast the next day.

I ground the cardamom myself and found 1 teaspoon to be plenty, but if you have cardamom that comes already ground, you might want to add just a pinch or so more. On the other hand, if cardamom is new to you, you might want to use a little less.

I used a blood orange, which gives the final dish a dramatic hue; but any orange will do.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch: arkansasonline.com/23burner]

Broiled Asparagus With Cardamom and Orange

  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed (1 or 2 bunches, depending on thickness)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, divided use
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (I used green cardamom)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of ½ orange (I used a blood orange), divided use
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • Flaky salt, optional

Heat broiler to high with a rack about 6 inches from the heat.

Arrange the asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter, sprinkle with cardamom and season with salt and ground black pepper. Toss gently to coat. Scatter the asparagus evenly on the pan. Broil 6 to 8 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, or until the spears are tender and beginning to brown.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining butter, orange zest, marmalade and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper.

Place the broiled asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle with the butter-marmalade mixture and orange juice. If you wish, sprinkle on some flaky salt.

Serve immediately.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from "Milk Street Cookish: Throw It Together" by Christopher Kimball

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