Asparagus with Cannellini

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Asparagus with Cannellini
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This is one of those Mediterranean-style dishes that are perfect hot, at room temperature, or cold--a wonderful versatility for entertaining. If at all possible, use freshly picked vine-ripened tomatoes and very fresh verdant basil.

Yields: Serves 4


1 1/4 tsps sea salt

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 cup finely diced red onion

2 cloves garlic

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans (juice and all)

1/2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 pound asparagus

1 medium ripe tomato, cut in 1/2-inch dice (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil

2 T flax oil

1 T snipped chives (optional)


Place a large pot of water over high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Cover and bring to a boil.

Heat the olive oil gently in a large pan and add the onion, stirring well. When the onion juices begin to flow, squeeze the garlic through a garlic press into the pan. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, cannellini beans, and vinegar. Stir thoroughly but gently, to avoid crushing any of the beans. Bring to a simmer, set the heat to very low, and cover. Continue to cook, stirring often, while you proceed with the asparagus.

Once the pot of salted water has come to a furious boil, drop in the asparagus spears and stir once. Depending on the thickness of the asparagus, they should be just tender-crisp in about 1 minute. When they are done to your satisfaction, drain well.

Remove the beans from the heat and stir in the diced tomato, chopped basil, and flax oil. Divide the asparagus among 4 plates and top with the bean mixture. Garnish with the chives, if using, and serve at once.

Recipe by
Alan Roettinger