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When faced with the chore of providing a nourishing and tasty dinner each night, many cooks falter at the vegetable end of a meal. Sure, it is easy enough to grill a piece of steak or chicken, but what are you going to serve with it? Simply boiled or steamed vegetables seem to be the norm - but really, how many plain steamed vegetables can a mere mortal eat?

This is where it pays to be just a little creative. Take a simple vegetable like asparagus - steamed on its own asparagus is pretty fabuloso, but spice it up with balsamic vinegar and pistachio nuts and things get really interesting. Take this dressing and apply it to any crisp green vegetable you have to hand - be it green beans, broccoli, zucchini (courgettes), sugar snap peas or even spinach. The idea is to cook the vegetables briefly, so that they retain their green, crunch and vigour, and then coat them with this flavoursome dressing. It don't get much easier than this

Here's the skinny.

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches of asparagus (or 500 gm (1 lb) greens of your choice)
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 25 ml (1 fl oz) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 50 gm (2 oz) pistachio nuts, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Method

    Trim the asparagus of their woody stems, or if using another vegetables, cut them into a nice cook-able state. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add a large dash of sea salt.

    In the meantime mix the oil, vinegar, mustard and pistachios together until the are well blended. When the water is boiling add the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes, no more. Drain immediately and place in a large mixing bowl. Top with the dressing, add salt and pepper then toss well until each spear is coated with dressing and nuts.

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