It’s asparagus season at the farmer’s market, one of my favorite times of the year – it basically means I can pick up something like 2 lbs of real good asparagus for cheap, and use ALL THE ASPARAGUS. I decided to do something different than my two mainstay asparagus recipes this time, and while I was figuring out what I wanted to do, I came across this recipe, and realized I already had the blue cheese and balsamic caramel in my fridge. As such, the decision was pretty quickly made what to do with this. 

This is a flavor combination I’ve never tried before and might not have thought of, but trust me when I say that if it tastes even a quarter as good as it smelled when I was putting it together, you’ll be in for a real treat. 

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Caramel and Blue Cheese
Depends on amt asparagus used; 2 lbs lasted appx six lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe balsamic caramel (I had some leftover from making the steaks a while ago)
  • desired amount of asparagus (I had 2 lbs on hand)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • .5 c crumbled blue cheese (I just sliced mine off a block I had and it crumbled pretty easy)

Preheat your oven to 400. Lay some foil down on a large baking tray, and spread your asparagus out in a single layer (or as close to it as you can get), tossing with olive oil and sea salt. Roast your asparagus between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much you have (the above result was 2 lbs after 25 minutes). 

Take your roasted asparagus, drizzle with the balsamic caramel, and sprinkle with the blue cheese, and then enjoy!

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This takes a bit of leg work to prep, but man, I cannot detail the level to which it is worth it, on all fronts. Also, god bless the beginnings of the holiday sales at grocery stores – steaks were $7/lb (as opposed to the normal $12). 

Be careful when you’re making the balsamic caramel, as it can burn if you let it reduce too far/fast (happened with my first .5 c of wine). The steaks ended up marinating for longer than intended, due to the phone deciding to not recognize that it had a sim card in it and ensuing hijinx, but I can’t say that it hurt the final steaks. 

This recipe will be split into two sections – one for the balsamic caramel, and one for the pan-seared oven-finished steaks.

Pan-Seared, Oven-Finished Steaks with Balsamic Caramel
Makes however many steaks you have on hand

Balsamic Caramel Sauce

  • .5 c red wine (original recommends Rainwater Madiera, I went with Cupcake Winery’s Red Velvet)
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t dark brown sugar

In a small pot, heat and simmer your red wine over medium heat until it’s reduced to appx 1 T.  Add your balsamic vinegar and simmer until the mixture has reduced to about .25 c, is thick and syrupy, and there are larger bubbles forming on the surface.  When reducing both, be careful, as there’s a point where they’ve reduced so much that they can burn.  As soon as the balsamic has reduced, remove from heat, whisk in the dark brown sugar, and pour into a small container.

Pan-Seared, Oven-Finished Steaks

  • steaks
  • balsamic vinegar
  • soy sauce
  • dark brown sugar

Mix your balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and dark brown sugar together (I did this very approximately, and can say the balsamic:soy:sugar ratio was about 3 T: 2T: 1T) in whatever container you use for marinating (bag, shallow dish, etc), and put your steaks in. Marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours (if you go longer, stick it in the fridge). 

When you’re ready to cook your steaks, heat some olive oil in a pan over high heat, and preheat your oven to 450 (mine was at 425).  Line a baking sheet with foil.  

Season your steaks with salt and pepper, and sear for 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side, removing them to the sheet as soon as they’re done.  Then, pop the steaks in the oven for five minutes.  Five minutes at 450 (425, mine runs hot) gives you the perfect rare doneness, and even caramelizes the fat a bit.

Remove your steak to a plate, drizzle the balsamic caramel on it, and nom the fuck out.