Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.
A splash of citrus is one of the easiest ways to enliven any side of vegetables, especially when you use a generous amount of fruit.
The orange zest in this dish helps bring a tasty zing and a great aroma to the walnuts. I’ve had a lot of luck with this flavor combination on broccoli and green beans as well. Substituting regular green asparagus with the white version requires that you peel them before hand. However, the extra time pays off with a striking visual presentation.
1 pound asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 ½ tablespoons orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
¾ cup walnuts
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper
4 quarts water
Preheat oven to 325° F. Spread walnuts in an un-greased baking dish and toast for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Remove from oven and roughly chop after nuts have cooled.
Meanwhile, bring water to a rigorous boil and season with half the salt. Boil asparagus for about 5 minutes, until tender but still crisp. Drain and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet and add chopped nuts. Add orange zest and juice and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add cooked asparagus and toss to thoroughly coat. Season with remaining salt and pepper.