A Simple Side Dish for a Hot Florida BBQ
But sometimes, when the grill is heaving with meat, I round out the meal by turning on the oven (yes, I know we could get a second grill. But what kind to get? The debate in our house is as hot as that Florida sun and I fear that we might wind up with THREE instead of two. Safer to keep turning to the oven for now).
The trick with using the oven when there’s a cookout going down is to choose something low-maintenance so that you can be outside where the action is as much as possible. This recipe combines potatoes and asparagus cooked together on one pan, making things pretty simple (note that the potatoes go into the oven before the asparagus does because they require different cooking times).
The combo of carb + veg in this dish means that you don’t need much else to finish off the meal. You’ve got the chicken and ribs heating up outside and this multi-component dish in the oven. All I would add are some bottles of Jai Alai IPA, The Tedeshi Trucks Band cranked up high, a salad of mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette, a bunch of lawn chairs and some laughs. Gotta say, I love living in Florida!
Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus with Mint and Charred Lemon
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into quarters
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt (and a little more)
- 1 and 1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes, or other small quick-cooking variety
- 1 lb pencil-thin (or a bit plumper) asparagus, trimmed of lower stalks and cut into 2″ lengths
- 5-6 finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 450º
- Measure the olive oil onto a large rimmed cookie sheet (I use a jelly roll pan). Tilt the pan around until it is evenly coated. Slick the cut sides of each lemon quarter with the olive oil on the pan. Sprinkle each cut side with a pinch of sea salt and then remove them from the pan. Slide the potatoes into the olive oil and then jiggle the pan until the skins are all slippery. Sprinkle the potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt. Nuzzle the lemon wedges in amongst the potatoes making sure that each quarter has a cut side in contact with the pan. Put the pan in the oven and roast until the potatoes are fork tender and browned, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Use a metal spatula to scrape and lift off the lemon quarters (don’t worry if they’re a bit charred and stuck; do your best to get them off). Add the asparagus to the pan and give it a jiggle and toss before putting it back into the oven. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the asparagus is a bit softened but still al dente.
- Meanwhile, into a small bowl squeeze the pulp and juice from the lemons. Remove any seeds from the bowl.
- Take the pan from the oven. Sprinkle everything with another 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and sprinkle the lemon pulp and juice over top. Gently transfer the potatoes and asparagus onto a serving platter and then float the mint down over the top.
(c) 2012. Christine Pittman. All Rights Reserved.