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Cold Poached Asparagus with Basil Mayonnaise

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1 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed of tough ends
1 cup roughly chopped basil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup low Hellman’s Low Fat Mayonnaise (or Reduced Fat Vegenaise)
Zest and juice of 1 medium lemon (2-3 T juice)
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon garlic, sliced
mixed greens to fill out each plate
chopped grape tomatoes, optional
slivers of Parmesan, optional
fat free croutons, optional

Place asparagus in a frying pan filled with cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt and set over high heat. Once it begins to bubble, cook just 1 minute more for thin stalks, 2 to 3 minutes more for thick stalks. Drain out the water and immediately put a few handfuls of ice cubes in the pan, swirling to quickly cool the asparagus so it will retain its bright green color.

Remove the asparagus to a clean kitchen towel or cloth dinner napkin to soak up the moisture, roll the spears up in the towel and place in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator until ready to use. (If prepping for an evening party, these can be done in the morning and kept chilled all day.)

To make the Basil Mayo, you can whirl all the ingredients in a small food processor.

But to save a clean up step, I combine all in a mason jar I can store the leftover dressing in and use an immersion blender to puree. Just make sure you puree half of the basil into the liquid before adding the rest or the immersion blender can clog.

TO SERVE:

Fill each salad plate with any soft greens, sprinkle just a few drops of olive oil and a little salt on them and toss lightly with your hands. Top with the chilled asparagus, the basil mayo and finely chopped grape tomatoes.

If you like, you can also add a few ribbons of Parmesan (just use your potato peeler and cut from the corners of the cheese for skinny strips.) Or you could add a a bit of grated hard boiled egg (only the whites if you’re really serious about calories) or a few fat-free croutons. With the flavorful basil mayo now just 8 calories a tablespoon, you have wiggle room!

 

- Recipe courtesy of Lisa McRee

 

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