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Asparagus, Saffron, and Almond Pilaf

Fragrant with fresh dill and tarragon, this rice could be a meatless main or a side for a simple chicken or seafood entrée — though really it will be the star of the meal. We love the crunchy texture the toasted almonds lend to the tender rice and asparagus. Plus, the colors are bright and beautiful, just like the wonderful taste.

Asparagus, Saffron, and Almond Pilaf

1 onion, finely chopped
3 tbs. coconut oil or butter
1½ cups basmati rice
large pinch of saffron added to 2 cups boiling water
1 bunch asparagus
3 tbs. chopped fresh dill
3 tbs. chopped fresh tarragon
⅓ cup skinless (blanched) almonds

Cook the onion in 2 tbs. of the oil or butter until soft and slightly golden. Add the rice and stir well to coat every grain. Add the saffron water and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the asparagus and cut into 1″ pieces. Cook these in a splash of water for 4 minutes, or until just tender. Rinse in cold water and drain.

When the rice is ready, add the asparagus, dill, and tarragon. Put the lid back on and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Check seasonings.

Heat the remaining oil in a small skillet and cook the almonds with a pinch of salt until golden and warm. Serve scattered over the rice.


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