Tomatoes + corn + fresh herbs = summer. And when you add shrimp, garlic, hot pepper, wine and butter, you have a lovely dish that can be served over pasta or with crusty bread. I served this recipe from the New York Times over cooked linguine.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used frozen shrimp with only salt added and a wine from Frogpond Farm with a sulfite level of fewer than 10 parts per million. Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and butter that does not contain colour.

Cook the shrimp and set aside

Cook the corn and tomatoes

Add the shrimp back in and heat through

Top with herbs and serve over pasta or rice


1 pound (454 g) large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint (500 ml) cherry or grape tomatoes

2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 4 ears)

5 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon (5 ml) red-pepper flakes

¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges for serving (optional)

5 tablespoons (75 ml) unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces

3 tablespoons (45 ml) chopped parsley or chives, or torn basil leaves


Pat the shrimp very dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large (12-inch/30-cm) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until they start to blister in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the tomatoes burst and the corn is golden in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until you smell garlic, about 1 minute.

Reduce heat to medium, and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated, then add the butter and stir until melted. Add the shrimp and its juices and stir until warmed through. (If the sauce breaks and looks greasy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and stir until emulsified.)

Remove from heat, add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with extra lemon for squeezing over, if you like. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

This is a great recipe from Half Baked Harvest. Cook ground chicken and then add garlic, ginger, peppers and cashews. Cook for a few minutes and then add tamari, fish sauce, chili paste and honey. Cook until the sauce thickens, then remove from heat and add the herbs. I omitted the mint and mango.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used tamari instead of soy sauce, Simply Organic sriracha and Cock brand fish sauce. Check to make sure the oil and the almonds don’t contain additives.

Brown the chicken

Add the garlic, ginger, peppers and cashews and then the sauce

Remove from heat and add the herbs


2 tablespoons (30 ml) sesame or peanut oil

1 pound (454 g) ground chicken

Black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1 inch (2.54-cm) fresh ginger, grated

2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped

½ cup (125 ml) raw cashews

½ cup (125 ml) low sodium soy sauce or tamari

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

2-3 tablespoons (30-45 ml) chili paste

1 cup (250 ml) fresh basil, roughly torn

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh mint, roughly torn

Steamed white or brown rice, for serving

1 mango, thinly sliced or diced


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken. Season with black pepper and brown all over, breaking the chicken up as it cooks, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, peppers, and cashews, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, and honey. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5-8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and mint.

Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of rice. Top with mangos and additional basil. Serves 4.

From Half Baked Harvest

This quick fish dish from the New York Times is tasty and uses your garden-fresh scallions, cucumber and herbs. Roast the fish for a few minutes and then add julienned scallions. While the fish cooks, make a quick sauce of scallion, yogurt, cucumber, herbs, lemon juice, garlic and oil. Serve the fish with the charred scallions and sauce. You can use halibut, cod or any firm white fish in this recipe.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of sodium benzoate. Astro Original Balkan-style yogurt and Cock brand fish sauce contain no artificial ingredients. Use only freshly squeezed lemon juice, as the concentrates are bitter and contain sodium benzoate. Check the red pepper flakes to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Make the cucumber yogurt sauce

Arrange scallions around fish

Serve fish with charred scallions and sauce


1 bunch scallions, green and white parts separated

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 (6- to 8-ounce/170- 226-g) boneless, skinless halibut fillets

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) soy sauce

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fish sauce

⅔ cup (165 ml) plain Greek yogurt

⅔ cup (165 ml) finely chopped cucumber

1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced fresh dill or mint

2 teaspoons (10 ml) fresh lemon juice, plus more for serving

1 garlic clove, finely grated or mashed to a paste

Red-pepper flakes

Flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)


Heat oven to 450 degrees F (232 C). Mince enough of the scallion greens to equal 2 tablespoons (30 ml) and reserve. Halve remaining scallion whites and greens lengthwise to make ribbons. Place scallion ribbons in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil and a pinch of salt; set aside.

Season fish with salt and pepper, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle fish with a little oil, soy sauce and fish sauce. Transfer to the oven and roast, 2 minutes. Add scallion ribbons to the baking sheet, spreading them out in one layer around the fish, and roast until the fish is opaque in the center and golden at the edges, and scallions are browned in spots, 6 to 10 minutes.

While fish roasts, make the sauce: In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) minced scallion greens, the yogurt, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, garlic and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, arrange fish and scallions on serving plates and squeeze lemon over the top. Dollop yogurt sauce over the fish and garnish with remaining scallion greens, red-pepper flakes, more black pepper, and sea salt, if you like. Serves 4.

From the New York Times

These spiced chicken thighs from Real Simple are simply delicious. Rub the chicken with spices and toss the tomatoes with oregano, oil and vinegar. Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, garlic and vinegar. Cook the chicken, set aside and cook the onion. Shred the chicken and serve with onion, tomatoes, sauce, naan and garnish with extra oregano.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check your spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used Astro Original Balkan-style yogurt and Hellman’s mayonnaise. Instead of white vinegar, I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar and Suraj original naan.

Make the tomato salad

Coat the chicken with the spice mixture

Cook the chicken

Set the chicken aside while you cook the onions

Serve the chicken and onions with sauce, salad and naan


½ teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

¼ teaspoon (2.5 ml) smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cloves

¼ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground turmeric

3 teaspoons (15 ml) kosher salt, divided

2 pounds (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8 thighs)

½ cup (125 ml) plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) mayonnaise

1 large clove garlic, grated

3 tablespoons (45 ml) white wine vinegar, divided

1½ pounds (680 kg) tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh oregano leaves, plus more for serving

¼ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, divided

1 red onion, cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm) slices

Naan, for serving


Combine cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, cloves, turmeric, and 2 teaspoons (10 ml) salt in a small bowl. Rub mixture evenly over chicken; set chicken aside.

Stir yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) vinegar in a small bowl. Toss tomatoes with oregano, pepper, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vinegar in a medium bowl. Set bowls aside.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to hot oil; cook, flipping once, until browned and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 165°F (74°C), about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board.

Add onion to skillet; cook over medium-high, stirring often and scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet, until onion is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a serving platter with any accumulated juices. Add onion and any remaining juices in skillet to platter. Top with oregano. Serve with yogurt mixture, tomato salad, and naan. Serves 4.

From Real Simple

This scrumptious salad from Canadian Living is bursting with summer blueberries, arugula and corn. Grill corn and halloumi, remove the kernels from the cobs and combine with couscous, arugula and blueberries. Serve topped with the grilled halloumi, almonds and a blueberry-balsamic-honey dressing. Cook’s note: I removed the kernels from the cobs before cooking and sautéed them in a pan on top of the stove. I grilled the halloumi on a grill pan on top of the stove. I used watercress instead of arugula and sliced almonds.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check the halloumi to make sure it does not contain additives or preservatives. Use butter that contains only cream, with no colour added. I use a balsamic vinegar with only naturally occurring sulfites and President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon.

Make the blueberry dressing

Cook the corn

Cook the couscous

Couscous salad with grilled halloumi and blueberries



2 cobs corn, husks and silk removed

2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 7 oz (200 g) pkg halloumi, cut into 8 slices

1 cup (250 ml) couscous

2 tsp (10 ml) butter

1 cup (250 ml) arugula

1/3 cup (85 ml) fresh blueberries

2 tbsp (30 ml) coarsely chopped almonds

Blueberry dressing

2 cups (500 ml) fresh blueberries

3 tbsp (45 ml) balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey

2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard

1/3 cup (85 ml) olive oil

Salt and pepper


Corn and halloumi

Preheat grill to medium-high heat; grease grate well. Brush corn with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place corn and halloumi on grill; close lid and grill, turning occasionally, until corn is tender and halloumi is well marked, about 15 minutes for corn and 6 minutes for halloumi. Let corn cool slightly; remove kernels from cobs.

Blueberry dressing

Meanwhile, in blender or food processor, purée blueberries, vinegar, honey and mustard. Add olive oil in thin drizzle until mixture is smooth; season with salt and pepper. Dressing can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.


In large, heatproof bowl, mix together couscous, 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water and butter; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Add corn kernels, arugula and blueberries; toss until well combined. Top with grilled halloumi and almonds and serve with dressing. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a savoury and hearty one skillet meal. Cook ground chicken with spices and jalapeno, stir in enchilada sauce and rice and cook until the rice is tender. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and lime juice and top with cheese and tortilla chips. Bake until the cheese has melted and top with avocado, cilantro and yogurt or sour cream. Cooks’ note: I wasn’t able to find additive-free enchilada sauce, so I made my own; the recipe is below.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Imagine Organic broth and La Costena chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. No Name tomato sauce and tomato paste are additive free. Check the dried spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used President’s Choice Kettle-Style tortilla chips, No Name pizza mozzarella cheese and No Name sour cream.

Cook chicken, onion and spices

Add enchilada sauce and rice

When rice is cooked, top with tortilla chips and cheese

Bake until cheese has melted


Enchilada sauce

1 to 1 ½ cups (250 to 375 ml) low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 ½ to 2 ½ tablespoons (22.5 to 37.5 ml) canned chipotle adobo sauce, divided

One  443-ml (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/3 cup (83 ml) tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) mild chili powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) oregano

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) onion granules (not powdered)

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Chicken tortilla enchilada bake

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 pound (454 g) ground chicken, beef, or turkey

1 yellow onion, chopped

1-2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped, use to your taste

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 teaspoons (10 ml) smoked paprika

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin

1 teaspoon (5 ml) kosher salt

2 ½ cups (625 ml) red enchilada sauce

1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped (optional)

1 cup (250 ml) dry long grain rice

½ cup (125 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for serving

juice of 1 lime

2 cups (500 ml) tortilla chips

1-2 cups (250-500 ml) shredded Mexican cheese

Sliced avocado and yogurt or sour cream, for serving


Enchilada sauce

To begin, add all ingredients to your blender, starting with 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable broth and 1 ½ tablespoons (22.5 ml) adobo sauce (You can add more broth and adobo sauce while the enchilada sauce is cooking to doctor the consistency and taste.) Blend, starting on low speed and working up to high speed, for about 30 seconds.

Pour the mixture into a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 12 to 18 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the flavours have deepened. Stir every few minutes ; cover the pot with a splatter screen if needed. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper as needed. (Salt amounts will vary depending on sodium in your broth.) Add more adobo sauce to your liking for a smokier and spicier flavour. If the sauce thickens too much, add more vegetable broth to thin it out.

Once the sauce is thick and flavourful, remove it from the heat. You can use it right away or store in the fridge. Makes 15 ounces (625 ml).

Chicken tortilla enchilada bake

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C).

In a large oven safe skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the ground chicken and onion. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until the chicken is browned, about 5 minutes. Add the jalapeños, garlic, paprika, cumin, and salt, cook 1 minute. Stir in the enchilada sauce, chipotle chili, if using, and 2 cups (500 ml) of water. Bring to a boil, stir in the rice. Place the lid on the skillet and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked into the rice, but not all of it.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over the chicken/rice. Add the tortilla chips on top, pressing them gently into the cheese. Evenly sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Transfer to the oven and bake 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Serve topped as desired with avocado, cilantro, and yogurt. Serves 6.

From Half Baked Harvest

This recipe, adapted from Half Baked Harvest, takes about 15 minutes to cook, once you have assembled the ingredients. Toss chicken with cornstarch, turmeric, ginger and pepper, then stir fry until browned. Add shallots, broccoli and cashews and cook for another few minutes. Stir in the honey-soy-rice vinegar sauce and simmer for about five minutes. Serve over rice or rice noodles.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your dried spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Use tamari instead of soy sauce. I use Marukan rice vinegar. Always use freshly squeezed lime juice.

Stir fry chicken and vegetables and then add honey-vinegar-soy sauce

Serve over steamed rice


1 pound (454 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch or flour

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground turmeric

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger

1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) black pepper, using more or less to your taste

3 tablespoons (45 ml) sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup (60 ml) honey

¼ cup (60 ml) low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) crushed red pepper flakes

2 medium shallots, sliced or chopped

2 small heads broccoli, chopped

½ cup (125 ml) raw cashews

Zest and juice of 1 lime

½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil or cilantro, roughly chopped


In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cornstarch, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil.

In a glass jar, combine the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup (60 ml) water.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml( oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown all over, until it becomes crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, broccoli, and cashews, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the broccoli is charring. Pour in the honey/soy sauce mix. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest, lime juice, and the basil.

Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles, with additional basil and lime wedges. Serves 4.

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest

This recipe from Canadian Living pairs baked salmon with orzo, snow peas and greens — all tossed with an orange-chive-mustard-honey dressing. And it’s ready in about 30 minutes!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed orange juice and pure honey. I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon mustard.

Spread parsley, mustard and orange zest over salmon before baking

Orange salmon and orzo salad


Orange-chive dressing

½ tsp (2 ml) grated orange zest

3 tbsp (45 ml) orange juice

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh chives

2 tsp (10 ml) Dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) liquid honey

1 clove garlic, finely grated or pressed

½ tsp (2 ml) each salt and pepper

1/3 cup (75 ml) vegetable oil


1 lb (450 g) skinless salmon fillet

Pinch each salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh parsley

4 tsp (18 ml) Dijon mustard

2 tsp (10 ml) grated orange zest

1 ½ cups (375 ml) orzo

2 cups (500 ml) snow peas, trimmed and sliced diagonally

8 cups (2 L) baby arugula

2 cups (500 ml) watercress leaves or living cress leaves


Orange-chive dressing

In small bowl, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, chives, mustard, honey, garlic, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oil. Set aside.


Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Stir together parsley, mustard and orange zest; spread over salmon. Place on lightly greased foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until fish flakes easily when tested, about 15 minutes. Remove to cutting board; chop or break apart into large chunks.

While salmon is baking, in large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook orzo until almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Add snow peas and cook until orzo is al dente and peas are bright green and tender-crisp, about 30 seconds. Drain.

In large bowl, toss together orzo mixture, arugula, watercress and dressing. Gently fold in salmon. Serves 4.

If you’d like leftovers, set some salad and dressing aside before tossing together. That way, your next-day salad stays nice and crisp.

From Canadian Living

This recipe from Stacie Billis uses two great techniques for cooking a whole chicken quickly and ensuring the meat is moist and well seasoned. The first is to butterfly or spatchcock the chicken, which means removing the backbone and flattening the bird. The second is to sprinkle the chicken with salt and keep it uncovered in the fridge for up to a day before cooking, although even a few hours will make a difference. This recipe is a one-pot meal – the chicken roasts with potatoes and then olives and artichokes are added for a few minutes at the end of the cooking time. It’s named after Billis’s son, Oliver. Cook’s note: I didn’t cut the potatoes in half, because they were small.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use freshly squeezed lemon juice and make sure the artichokes and olives do not contain preservatives. Check the label for the garlic powder to make sure it does not contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Arrange the potatoes around the butterflied chicken

Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving

Serve the chicken with the potatoes and the artichokes and olives, which are added toward the end of the cooking time


1 whole (3 to 4 pounds/1.36 to 1.8 kg) chicken, butterflied

1 ½ pounds (680 g) new potatoes,

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder

1 teaspoon (5 ml)  freshly ground black pepper

1 (14 ounce/396 g) can artichoke bottoms, drained and quartered

1 cup (250 ml) small, pitted green olives


If you have time, remove the chicken from your refrigerator up to 1 hour before cooking. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425°F (200°C) and prep the potatoes: Cut the potatoes in half. Add them to a medium bowl with the oil, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the garlic powder. Toss to coat well and transfer to a shallow roasting pan or a large sheet pan. Set the bowl, which should still have a little bit of the oil–lemon juice mixture at the bottom, aside.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and season it with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt (if you have dry-brined the chicken, don’t add more salt at this point) and the pepper, dividing them evenly between both sides of the chicken. Nestle the chicken skin side up between all of the potatoes on the roasting pan, making sure that the potatoes remain in a single layer and that none get stuck under the bird. Pour the remaining oil–lemon juice mixture from the bowl onto the chicken and rub it into the skin.

Place the pan in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, basting the chicken with drippings and shaking the potatoes every 10 minutes or so. If at any point there aren’t enough drippings to baste the bird, drizzle a small amount of oil onto the chicken and use that. After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add the artichoke bottoms and olives to the pan, scattering them all around the bird. Cook for another 5 minutes before checking for doneness: an instant-read thermometer should register 160°F (70°C) at the thickest part of the breast and 165°F (75°C) at the thigh. If the chicken is not cooked through, roast for 5 to 10 minutes longer until it is.

Allow the chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

From Stacie Billis

This recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is a quick and easy way to dress up the season’s asparagus. Cook garlic, tomatoes and olives in a skillet for a few minutes, then set aside. Cook the asparagus in the same pan until tender-crisp and bright green. Plate the asparagus, top with the tomato-olive mixture and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for olives with no sulfites added and butter that does not contain colour. Genuine Parmesan cheese (check the rind for the lettering spelling out the name of the cheese) is additive-free.

Cook garlic in skillet for a few minutes

Add tomatoes and olives, cook for a few minutes and set aside

Pan roast the asparagus

Top asparagus with tomato-olive mixture, garnish with basil and cheese and serve


2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

2 medium cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 pint (500 ml) cherry tomatoes, halved

⅓ cup (83 ml) brine-cured black olives (such as kalamata), pitted and chopped

1 tablespoon (15 ml) unsalted butter

2 pounds (907 g) thick asparagus spears (see note), ends trimmed

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

4 tablespoons (60 ml) chopped fresh basil (optional)

1 ounce (28 g) grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup/125 ml)


This recipe works best with asparagus that is at least ½ inch (1.25 cm) thick near the base. If using thinner spears, reduce the covered cooking time to 3 minutes and the uncovered cooking time to 5 minutes. Do not use pencil-thin asparagus; it cannot withstand the heat and overcooks too easily.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil and garlic in 12-inch (30-cm) skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns golden around edges but does not darken, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and olives; cook until tomatoes begin to break down and release liquid, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to bowl and cover with foil. Rinse skillet with water and dry well with paper towels.

Add the butter and remaining oil in the skillet. When butter has melted, add half of asparagus to skillet with tips pointed in one direction; add remaining spears with tips pointed in one direction. Using tongs, distribute spears in even layer (spears will not quite fit into single layer); cover and cook until asparagus is bright green and still crisp, about 5 minutes.

Uncover and increase heat to high; season asparagus with salt and pepper. Cook until spears are tender and well browned along one side, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to occasionally move spears from center of pan to edge of pan to ensure all are browned. Transfer asparagus to serving dish, top with tomato mixture. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper; sprinkle with basil and Parmesan. Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

To Serve 2-3: Cut all ingredient amounts in half. Cook asparagus in 10-inch (25-cm) skillet over medium heat, covered, for 3 minutes. Remove cover and cook over medium-high heat until tender and browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not adjust heat when cooking garnishes; however, cooking times for garnishes should be reduced by 1 to 2 minutes.

From Cook’s Illustrated

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