This simple combination of mushrooms and asparagus was inspired by the popular Spanish tapas (appetizer) dish, champiñones al ajillo. The original recipe uses only mushrooms, embellished with lots of garlic and parsley. Adding asparagus makes it not only more substantial, but gives it color and heft as well.
Both the mushrooms and asparagus are enlivened by red wine and other seasonings. The original mushroom rendition is traditionally served with slices of warm, fresh bread, so let’s include it when serving this embellished version.
And since you’ve already opened a bottle of red wine, serve some by the glass with this dish, which can be used as a first course or side dish as well as an appetizer. If you’d like to put together a vegan tapas party, this one’s a must! Another classic, vegan-as-is tapa to add to the mix is patatas bravas.
Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin, FatFreeVegan.com.
A few asparagus tips (pardon the pun)
- Slender asparagus is often seen in spring, but too slender, as mentioned in the recipe, isn’t a good thing. You want stalks that are succulent, or you’ll just be getting a lot of skin and little flavor.
- Choose bundles with firm spears; the tips should be closed, plump and green.
- Avoid bundles whose ends look withered — a sure sign that they’re past their peak.
- If you won’t be using the asparagus right away (though you should use it within a day or two of buying), wrap the ends of the stalks with a damp paper towel and put them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- You can also stand asparagus spears upright in a glass filled with 2 to 3 inches of cool water. That’s even better!
When you’re ready to use it
- Wash the asparagus stalks, then cut about an inch off the stem ends.
- If the skin looks tough toward the stem end, peel about half of the stalks toward the stem end with a vegetable peeler. This isn’t a lot of fun to do, but your finished dish will be that much better for it!
- 8 ounces asparagus
- 8 to 10 ounces mushrooms (see note)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine or sherry
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked Spanish paprika, or more, to taste
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, or more, to taste
- Trim about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus stalks. Unless they’re slender, peel the bottom halves with a vegetable peeler. It’s actually best to use medium-thick asparagus; super thin asparagus spears are just a lot of skin.
- Clean the mushrooms, then stem and quarter them.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden. Add the mushrooms and asparagus, raise over high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the wine, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Cook for about 3 minutes longer, or just until the asparagus is tender-crisp and the mushrooms have softened.
- Remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, and sprinkle with the parsley. This is good served warm or at room temperature.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 10gSugar: 15gProtein: 10g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used. This is given for informational purposes only and accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
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