I love spring. I wait all year for the beautiful spring produce to start to arrive; asparagus, leeks, artichokes – all the tender, sweet green leaves speak to me of the promise of sunshine and warmth – even though I do live in Florida, I grew up in New York, and spring has always been a time of reawakening for me. Even my wedding anniversary is March 20th, the first day of spring. So – yes, I love this time of year.
At the produce market this week, there were big, beautiful leeks and big, fat stalks of asparagus and I knew I had to make them together, so here’s what I did:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 lbs. asparagus
- 2 medium leeks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- sea salt
- 1 lemon
Soak the asparagus, tip side down in a bowl of fresh water. I like to shake them around a little, under the water, just to make sure that there’s no dirt caught in the tips. For the leeks, cut off any of the dark green, tough leaves. Slice the leeks down the middle length wise and run under water, using your thumbs to separate the leaves. The dirt gets trapped in between as the leek grows, so don’t skip this step unless you like dirt in your dinner.
Preheat the oven to 400. Heat a large pan on med heat. When it’s hot add one tablespoon of oil and when that ribbons, add the chicken breasts, breast side down and allow to brown for about 4 minutes, turn and brown the other side. Transfer to a lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes.
Bend the asparagus spears to find their natural breaking point and discard the woody bottoms. Cut them into bite size pieces. Heat the pan back up and add the remaining oil and the butter to the pan, add the asparagus and cook gently, tossing often to get the liquids all over the asparagus.
I cooked mine for about 10 minutes before adding the sliced leeks because they were so big, when they’re almost cooked and tender, add the leeks and a big pinch of salt and toss and cook continuously until the leeks are softened.
Remove from the heat and squeeze the juice of the lemon over the pan. Toss again before plating.
We served this with a fresh, tossed salad and a white balsamic vinaigrette.
So light and delicious – really a wonderfully refreshing and satisfying dinner. I should have doubled this recipe we all wanted more!
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