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Asparagus gives dish the taste of spring


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Posted Online: April 30, 2013, 9:27 am
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By Susan M. Selasky
Fresh lemons, olive oil and Dijon mustard. Together they are the perfect trio to brighten up any dish.

Add a little seasoning and enhance things even more.

In this springtime dish, the trio is paired with roasted chicken thighs and legs, asparagus and sweet mini bell peppers.

You can't go wrong with any asparagus dish this time of year. My local grocery store has huge displays of this harbinger of spring. Often on sale, it's not local, however--that asparagus still is weeks out. Most of the asparagus at my store is tagged from Mexico, and soon California asparagus will be in.

Asparagus is simple and easy to prepare — and that's what's so enjoyable about it. You can roast or steam it and grill or broil it. You can eat it hot or cold and even raw. Go ahead, pick up a spear with your fingers for a tasty snack.

Because asparagus goes with just about anything, I roasted it and mini bell peppers, another favorite because they, too, require little prep work. A 2-pound bag costs about $5.

For this recipe, I roasted the asparagus and the sliced peppers together. The technique I like to use to roast these vegetables is to preheat a sided baking pan that's drizzled with olive oil before I put the asparagus and peppers in. Doing so gives them a quick little sear and sizzle and both are crisp tender in about 7 minutes.

When it came to the chicken, I decided on thighs for this dish because I picked them up at a good sale price. Chicken thighs have tons of flavor and are a nice change from lean boneless, skinless chicken breast. Yes, the thighs and legs have more fat, especially if you factor in the skin. But you can remove it to shave off some fat and calories.

The chicken thighs I bought were in a family pack that contained about 12 thighs.

Today's recipe rocks because you can put it together in the morning and let the chicken marinate all day. Pop it into the oven and get some asparagus and mini red peppers ready to roast while the chicken is roasting. This way, you can have dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Roasted lemon chicken with asparagus and peppers
Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 1 hour
You can use all chicken thigh or legs in this recipe.
Chicken
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 chicken legs with skin
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Glaze
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon or favorite grainy mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Asparagus and Peppers (see note)
Pat the chicken thighs and legs dry. Remove any excess fat from the chicken thighs. In a glass measuring cup, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Reserve a few tablespoons of this mixture for the asparagus. Place chicken pieces in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil mixture over, tossing to coat. Refrigerate 2-8 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the glaze ingredients. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken pieces in a roasting pan, skin-side down. Roast the chicken 25 minutes. Turn chicken skin side-up, brush pieces with some of the glaze and roast 10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and place chicken on a platter; tent with foil.
Pour off as much fat as you can from the roasting pan and set the pan over two burners. Heat, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the remaining glaze and heat through. Pour sauce into a small bowl (there won't be a lot of it) and serve with the chicken.
Note: To make the asparagus and peppers: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and trim tough ends from 1/2 pound asparagus. Slice 8 mini bell peppers into strips. Drizzle a sided baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and place in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add the asparagus spears and pepper pieces to the pan; they will sizzle. Place in the oven for 7 minutes or until they are barely tender. Remove from oven and drizzle with the reserved olive oil/lemon mixture or simply season with salt and pepper.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Chicken only: 399 calories (72% from fat), 32 grams fat (6 grams sat. fat), 9 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams protein, 741 mg sodium, 69 mg cholesterol, 0 grams fiber.



















 



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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






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