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Asparagus in a Creamy Sauce

Asparagus can be classed as the messenger of the natural world.  For as soon as these delicious tips start appearing they signal that spring is just around the corner.  This wonder vegetable really deserves its title as it’s packed full of great nutrition:

Asparagus is such a great source of Vitamins.  A, C, E and K pack these spears, as well as the mineral Chromium, so helping glucose travel around the bloodstream. 

It is also high in fiber and folic acid. 

Asparagus is an anti-oxidant and help to breakdown free radicals.  These nasty little compounds can cause various forms of cancer.  The folic acid contained within also reacts with B12 (the vitamin found in dairy products, meat and fish) and studies show may help slow the aging process.  Tests have shown healthy levels of folic acid and B12 help with mental agility and awareness.   

There are three types of asparagus:  green, white and purple.  Obviously the green variety is the most popular.  However, the other two are available from good stores and farmers markets. 

Always buy your asparagus as fresh as possible.  A good way to tell this is by trying to bend the base of the spear.  If it bends easily it won’t be as fresh as one that snaps off. 

Ingredients: (serves 6)

2 Pound of Asparagus Spears

1 ½ Cup Flour

1 Tablespoon of Butter

½ Cup of Half and Half (or just use ¼ cup each of milk and cream)

1 ½ Cup of Chicken Broth

1 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice

1 – 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard

¼ Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

Method: (cooking the asparagus)

In a small saucepan bring some water to the boil

Prepare the asparagus by carefully snapping off the rough ends.

Place in the boiling water.  Check after 6 minutes.  The Asparagus is ready when tender but should still have a crunch to it.

Drain and pat dry on kitchen towel.  Lay asparagus on your warm serving plate ensuring to keep warm.

Method: (making the sauce)

In a small saucepan melt the butter over a low heat. 

Slowly add the flour.  Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth.

Slowly, small quantities at a time, stir in the half and half and the chicken broth. 

Keep stirring until sauce thickens.  After 1 – 2 minutes the sauce should be bubbling.

Gently whisk in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard and the cayenne pepper.

When fully mixed in, spoon over the warm asparagus and serve.

Notes:

Ensure not to overcook the spears as most of the nutrients and goodness will be lost. The cayenne pepper is to personal taste so add as little or as much as you wish.  However, this recipe works just as well with black pepper.  The sauce when cold also makes the base for a wonderful salad dressing.  Just add a little honey.

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