Asparagus has a pleasantly sharp flavor that balances nicely with the richer taste and texture of goat cheese...throw in the lemon zest and sea salt for added zing.

To build your off-the-cuff kitchen repertoire, take cues from the flavor combinations in The Creative Cook Menu .
Servings: Serves 4
  • 1 thick slice crusty bread or 3 thick slices baguette cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound asparagus spears , trimmed
  • 4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese , crumbled
  • Zest of 1 lemon , removed in long, thin strips
  • Directions
    Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast, tossing halfway through, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove, cool, and chop into coarse crumbs; set aside. Wipe sheet clean.

    Arrange asparagus on sheet. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast, rolling asparagus over once or twice, until just tender, 12 to 14 minutes; transfer to a large platter.

    Sprinkle lemon juice over asparagus, then scatter bread crumbs on top. Drizzle remaining olive oil; top with goat cheese and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

    Extra idea: These flavors would also work together harmoniously as a canapé—the goat cheese spread thin on crustless bread, the asparagus steamed and sliced thin, the lemon zest curled on top.


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