As a flowering perennial, asparagus is a plant that begins to sprout in the spring. But this green vegetable is a local favourite all summer. Add some local flavour to your next dinner party with this delicious summer dish that marries crunchy asparagus with soft goat cheese and topped with chilled marinated cherry tomatoes.

Baked asparagus with marinated cherry tomatoes and goat cheese
1 lb. asparagus trimmed (look for baby finger sized gus, anything skinnier will be overcooked)
300 grams goat cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp olive oil
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in ½ (be sure to get Elmira’s own from Floralane Produce)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/2  tbsp pesto
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Cooking directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place asparagus in an ovenproof ceramic dish. Break up goat cheese and sprinkle over asparagus. Then sprinkle the goat cheese with breadcrumbs, followed by parmesan cheese.
3. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and crispy.
5. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, shallot, pesto, remaining olive oil, red wine vinegar and salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Remove asparagus from oven and serve with marinated tomatoes.

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