Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes


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1 pound asparagus, trimmed $
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes $
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar $
1/4 teaspoon salt $
3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation

1. Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.

Raisin and Pine Nut variation: Omit tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and goat cheese.
Cook 1/3 cup sliced red onion and 2 tablespoons pine nuts in oil for 4 minutes.
Add 2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice, 3 tablespoons raisins, and 2 teaspoons honey; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon orange rind. Spoon over asparagus; sprinkle with pepper. Yield: 4 servings.
Calories 111; Fat 5.3g (sat 0.6g); Sodium 151mg

Sesame-Ginger Glazed variation: Omit oil, tomatoes, vinegar, salt, cheese, and pepper. Microwave 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger, and garlic on HIGH for 2 minutes. Drizzle over asparagus; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges. Yield: 4 servings.
Calories 43; Fat 0.8g (sat 0.1g); Sodium 134mg

Lemon-Tarragon variation: Omit tomatoes, vinegar, and cheese; decrease pepper to 1/4 teaspoon. Combine 1/8 teaspoon lemon rind, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons chopped tarragon, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oil. Drizzle tarragon mixture over asparagus; toss gently to coat. Yield: 4 servings.

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