Why should starchy sides get all the love? This balsamic asparagus with blistered tomatoes is the perfect side dish for a relaxing meal for one, but it also works on date night. It’s stunningly simple, well-balanced, and elegant. Asparagus kind of gets a bad rap, but that might be because it’s so often overcooked. Cook it correctly following our recipe below. Then, add some acidity (the balsamic) and a sweet element (the tomatoes), and you’ve got yourself a super tasty plant-based side dish!
Serving This Balsamic Asparagus with Blistered Tomatoes
This recipe tastes great as-is, but you can also top it with freshly ground black pepper and, my personal favorite, shavings of Parmesan or ricotta salata cheese. I’m struggling to think of how the addition of any kind of cheese would be a bad thing here!
When it comes to wine pairings, match the brightness of a crisp Italian white wine with the freshness of this Mediterranean Greek Salmon with Orzo Recipe. A savory, oregano-spiced salmon filet, along with the bright “zing” from the lemon zest, is all wrapped up by the saltiness of the feta. Okay, maybe you don’t need the extra cheese there.
Salmon is really the obvious choice if you were going to pair this Balsamic Asparagus with Blistered Tomatoes with fish. These protein-packed Salmon Quinoa Cakes would be another great choice. Whether you pair this side with a simple pasta dish or roast chicken, garnishing the finished plate with a balsamic glaze adds sweet balsamic goodness, and it also looks gorgeous. You’re ready for date night!
Looking For A Way To Cook Asparagus That You Will Actually Crave?
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetable sides. It’s not only delicious, but there are so many simple ways to cook fresh asparagus. It’s so versatile because you can steam, boil, saute, grill, or roast it. If you like, it can even be served raw! The only problem with asparagus? If you overcook it, it becomes bland, flavorless, and texturally…well, less-than-desirable.
For this Balsamic Asparagus with Blistered Tomatoes, we chose to roast our asparagus because we love how it keeps the flavor intact. But I will warn you that you’ll want to watch the timer – keep it to five minutes in the oven!
Choosing Your Tomatoes
Tomatoes are always worth it, especially when you buy the right ones and prepare them correctly. If you’re lucky enough to have access to high-quality sweet tomatoes (you know, the ones that taste like the sun), then very little needs doing. There are some general rules when it comes to working with tomatoes.
Cold damages tomatoes as it prevents them from ripening. As a rule, avoid buying tomatoes from a refrigerated case. Tomatoes displayed loose are easier to evaluate than those packed in boxes. If they have no aroma at all, the tomatoes were probably picked when immature, and they will never fully ripen. Finally, size has no bearing on flavor, texture, or quality. Look for plump, heavy tomatoes with smooth skins.
For this balsamic asparagus dish, we’ve chosen to blister the tomatoes. Roast them until the skin is darkening on top and bursting. Shuffle the tomatoes around to cook them evenly. We like these blistered tomatoes because they’re so quick!
If you have extra time to kill, I also love to make slow-roasted tomatoes. It takes about three hours to roast them, but trust us: it’s so worth it! They get this deep, rich, caramelized flavor that’s hard to beat. The store-bought kind lacks that depth of flavor and it usually has a ton of extra sodium, too.
Balsamic Asparagus and Blistered Tomatoes
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil plus 2 teaspoons, divided
- 1 pound asparagus trimmed
- 1 Tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place tomatoes along with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a baking dish. Sprinkle with half the salt & pepper.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tomatoes are "burst" and slightly blistered on the outside.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, toss trimmed asparagus with remaining olive oil, salt & pepper.
- Once tomatoes are blistered, add prepared asparagus to baking dish. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss with tomatoes.
- Bake another 5 minutes. Asparagus should be tender-crisp.
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