Jamie Oliver’s Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes, Black Olives, and Basil

by Hilary Gauntt on July 8, 2014

Celebrity British chef Jamie Oliver is a rock star in the culinary world.  He started cooking in his parents pub at age 8, and went on to become famous on the BBC with the hit show “The Naked Chef”.  In addition to writing bestselling cook books and opening a string of successful restaurants, he launched a campaign to improve the food for British schoolchildren.  He brought this to the U.S. in 2010 and it’s now a global effort to eliminate junk food and promote healthy eating.

This is a simple and delicious vegetable recipe with complex flavors. Jamie describes it thus : “I think this recipe is choice.  The sweetness of the tomatoes, the smokiness of good black olives, the fragrance of fresh basil and the freshness of your asparagus make this an orgasmic combo.”  The next time I make this I will toss the cooked vegetables and the pan juices with some penne pasta for a complete meal.

“The Naked Chef” cookbook was the last Christmas present his Aunt Laura gave to Jimmy.  He was a young man now in his own place, and learning how to cook from a hip young Brit would have really appealed to him.  I have inherited the book, and only now 6 years later am I ready to open and explore it. Which brings to mind the words of John Greenleaf Whittier…..”For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: It might have been!”

1 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and peeled if necessary

1 good handful of black olives

20 cherry tomatoes, small, sweet and ripe

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely sliced

1 good handful of fresh basil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

small pinch of dried red chili, crumbled

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and then place in a hot pan or roasting pan.  Cook in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times.  Serves 4

Prepped ahead and ready for the oven!

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