Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree – Recipe

Asparagus with Pistachio Puree

At Sitka and Spruce and Bar Sajor, Matt Dillon serves quite a few salads and small plates with a base of various ridiculously good nut purees. Though really, puree isn’t quite the right word. They eat more like a sort of nut-based hummus: rich, creamy, slightly fluffy, but packed full of the flavor of roasted nuts.

At ChefSteps, the kitchen recently did some development work with the American Pistachio Growers, and so we’ve had vast quantities of great pistachios around. Which is basically kryptonite for me, if kryptonite was really delicious and made you super happy when you ate it.

I didn’t exactly need my Nancy Drew Junior Sleuth Kit to put those two clues together.

I wrote the recipe below exactly as I did it, but I suspect it would also work in a food processor. I also suspect you could just put all the ingredients in at once, rather than drizzling in the oil and water, and that you could probably use less oil. You could certainly play with the flavor profile. I opted for lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and smoked paprika but it could just as easily be orange juice and zest and, say, ras el hanout. Whatever you do, don’t overpower the flavor of the pistachios – they should be the stars.

This recipe will make more that you need for one bunch of asparagus; it is probably about the smallest amount you can easily make in a blender though. I don’t think you’ll be too sorry having extra around. It would go equally great with raw endive or roasted cauliflower.

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree – Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree – Recipe

    For the pistachio puree
  • 270 grams (2 cups) unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels
  • 46 grams lemon juice (1 whole lemon)
  • 5 grams (1 clove) garlic, thinly sliced
  • 5 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 1.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) ground cumin
  • 1.5 grams (3/4 teaspoon) smoked paprika
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) water
  • For the asparagus
  • 700 grams (1 1/2 pounds) fat asparagus spears, trimmed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Real balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
  • 33 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted, roasted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped
  • Maldon salt
  • Fresh tarragon leaves
    For the pistachio puree
  1. Combine the pistachos, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, smoked paprika, and half of the olive oil in the blender. With the lid on and the blender running on mediumlow speed, drizzle in the remaining oil and then the water, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Blend until color lightens and fairly smooth but not completely textureless. You may need to add a little more water.
  2. Taste and adjust seasoning; it will likely need more salt and possibly more lemon juice or spices, but don't overpowerr the pistachio flavor. Reserve, with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent oxidation.
  3. For the asparagus
  4. Preheat oven to 400. Toss the asparagus with a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. Roast on a baking sheet until tender, about 10 minutes. Turn on broiler (or use a blowtorch) and cook until blackened in spots.
  5. To serve, spoon the pistachio puree on a plate and place the asparagus on top. Garnish with the balsamic vinegar, chopped pistachios, Maldon salt and tarragon leaves.

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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, April 22nd, 2013 in Appetizers, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

15 Responses to “Roasted Asparagus with Pistachio Puree – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    OK. This goes directly on the “gotta make it” list. But surely you could go with grilled endive rather than raw — esp. the cut-in-half-and-grill-face-down-over-high-heat version where the edges cook fast and are almost black, but the center of the leaf is still almost raw and has plenty of stiffness for scooping the hummus. (And the very center “half core” is a special treat!)
    In fact, you could probably do the asparagus on a grill, too.

    The “hummus” also sounds like the kind of thing that would keep really well — a nice midsummer dish where you can do the prep in the cool morning and the eating on a hot afternoon. Yum!

  2. Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    Yep, for sure, you could definitely do it with grilled endive, that would be delicious. It would also be nice with a smaller amount of the puree and any kind of salad of mixed raw or cooked vegetables on top. In effect it is a dip, you are just presenting it composed.

  3. Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    This looks delicious. I have never tried a pistachio purée, but I do love a good nut “hummus,” as you call it (I agree; nut “cheeses” and purées alike always remind me more of hummus or pesto than anything). Will definitely be trying this one.

  4. Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Call me anything but late for dinner for this one. I’ve only had pistachio puree once and I swore I’d make it again and hadn’t thought of it until I saw this post.

  5. Reply
    April 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    Definite hit! I made this exactly as specified, except that I gave the endive about a minute in the oven to warm it without really cooking it, and doubled the pistachio puree so I could keep a lot for spreading on toast. The one issue I had was that the pistachio puree discolours within an hour or two of exposure to air, so it’s worth putting the surplus straight into jars rather than leaving it in an open blender for while as I sloppily did.

    • Reply
      April 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      That’s awesome that you’ve already made it, and I’m glad you liked! Agree, it does oxidize pretty quickly. I’m lucky to have a vacuum sealer at work, so I put my extra in airless bag, but otherwise yep, jars or any kind of container, maybe drizzle a bit of oil over the top and pat a layer of plastic wrap down right on the surface.

  6. Reply
    April 24, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    Wow. This recipe looks so good in pictures, which makes me want to try it someday. Perhaps I need food processor for this one to make the pistachio puree easier. Is there a substitute or alternative ingredient if pistacchio is not available? Where can I get maldon salt? And can I use just an apple cider vinegar if the balsamic vinegar is not available? Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      April 25, 2013 at 8:15 am #

      I’m sure it will be good with other nuts – for example there is a delicious Middle Eastern dish called muhammara made with walnuts and pomegranate molasses. No, I wouldn’t use apple cider vinegar if you can’t get good balsamic – real balsamic is thick, syrupy, and sweet. I’d just skip the vinegar garnish in that case.

  7. Reply
    April 25, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Wow that looks good! It actually does not look that hard to prepare, I am going to give it a try. Of course the fact that I love both pistachios and asparagus doesn’t hurt, thanks for the recipe.

  8. Reply
    April 28, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Beautiful recipe for a beautiful spring day!

  9. Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Being half Italian, when I hear pistachio anything, I come running…spumoni ice cream, sorbet, pesto, you name it. I have to try this now! I’m allergic to citrus, but have a work-around using a bit of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of stevia or sugar. Pistachios on now on my shopping list. Thanks!

    BTW, I love your blog!

  10. Reply
    May 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    Separately, asparagus and pistachios are on the top of my list of favorites, but I never considered eating them together. Your pistachio puree looks tasty and worth trying. Some people say that a serving of pistachios can go a long way to easing indigestion. Its appearance reminds me a bit of organic peanut butter.

    Do you suggest if for use with any other vegetables? As of foodie, I like to experiment with new recipes once I get the basics of preparation down.

    • Reply
      May 20, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Sure, I think you could use this with a pretty wide range of vegetables. It would be great as a general dip for crudites, it could be served as the base of a hearty salad, heck I think it would even be good with potatoes. The only thing I wouldn’t necessarily do is use it with something that is both special and mildly flavored, as it might overwhelm it.

  11. Reply
    September 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Just have to wait a couple more months for the asparagus to come into season … have definitely printed this one out and it will be stored for a semi-good occasion as pistachios are quite expensive here and I’d probably need to have extra!!!!

  12. Reply
    February 9, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

    I made this and it was so good! I fell hard for the pistachio cream and have made it several times since to use a spread/dip/bean-free hummus. I usually make 1/2 of the quantity and It works very well in my Blend-Tec blender. I roast fresh, raw pistachios each time I make it and find that it is even better the 2nd day. Thanks for the great recipe!!

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