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Baked Asparagus with Havarti Cheese and Walnuts
It can take three years to grow a meal’s supply of asparagus in your garden, but, fortunately, markets nationwide are featuring plenty of it, sometimes in white or purple varieties.
May is National Asparagus Month and you can experiment with a different way to prepare the vegetable every day of the month. Sliced, diced or slivered, use it in creamy soup, risotto, salads, a casserole, stir-fry, breakfast frittata, or simply roasted.
Suitable for the health conscious, vegetarians, and those on gluten-free or low-calorie diets, asparagus is a versatile and nearly perfect vegetable. And here’s a hint from the Farmer’s Almanac: a pinch of baking soda in the cooking water will keep the asparagus spears greener.
l pound medium asparagus, with ends trimmed
1 teaspoon butter
3 tablespoon water
1/2 cup shredded Havarti cheese
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Pepper, freshly ground
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in an oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Place the asparagus stems across the bottom, with the tips facing in one direction. Add the water, cover the pan and steam the asparagus for two minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle shredded cheese across the center of the stems, avoiding the tips. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on the cheese, and grind the pepper over the cheese-topped asparagus.
Bake uncovered until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
You can stack Havarti slices and shred with a grater or finely cube it. The cheese is mild and buttery; if you prefer a stronger, nuttier flavor, substitute Havarti with Gruyere.