Asparagus Tartines With Balsamic Drizzle

Serves 4.

Note: Use slices of baguette or slices from a round, rustic loaf of whole-wheat bread for this dish. You will only use half of a can of white beans, so plan on using the other half to make a little bean salad for lunch, or stir them into a soup of your choice. From Robin Asbell.

• 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

• 1 lb. asparagus

• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise

• 3/4 c. cooked white beans (1/2 can)

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• Freshly ground black pepper

• 4 thick slices whole-wheat bread

• 1 c. grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise

• 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, julienne

Directions

For the balsamic drizzle: Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat as needed to maintain a strong simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cup with a spout or a small bowl where it will thicken as it cools. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

For the tartines: Set up a steamer for the asparagus. Cut the tips from the asparagus in 2-inch pieces and reserve. Cut 2 to 3 inches off the stalks and discard the ends, reserving the middle part of the stalks. Steam the tips for 1 minute, then transfer to a plate to cool. Steam the stalks and garlic for 4 minutes, until very tender. Drain and place in a food processor bowl.

Process the asparagus stalks and garlic, scraping down and repeating until they are puréed and smooth. Add the white beans, salt and a few grinds of black pepper and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead, tightly covered and refrigerated until time to serve; makes about 1 cup.)

To assemble the tartines: Toast the bread.

Spread asparagus purée on each slice of toast, then top with asparagus tips, tomatoes and mint leaves. Drizzle with balsamic reduction just before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 220 Fat... 2 g

Sodium 610 mg Carbohydrates 39 g

Saturated fat 0 g Added sugars 2 g

Protein 10 g Cholesterol 0 mg

Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, ½ carb, ½ lean protein.