Provencal asparagus with tomato (French)

  • 1 large plum tomato
  • 1 bunch jumbo asparagus spears
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley, leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan, for shaving
1) Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5. Cut a small x in the bottom of the tomato. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over a high heat. Add the tomato and cook for 30 seconds then remove to a bowl of salted iced water.

2) Add the asparagus to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove the asparagus to the iced water bath to cool down, then drain both the tomato and the asparagus.

3) Peel the tomato, remove the seeds, and roughly chop. Cut the asparagus into 2.5cm pieces and set aside.

4) Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomato, garlic, herbs and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the tomato begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

5) Stir in the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the mixture into an ovenproof casserole and scatter with some Parmesan shavings. Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

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