Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Asapargus served with, well, Asparagus

Third time's a charm

picture photograph image Asparagus on Asparagus Happy in the Kitchen 2008 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/

I have cooked asparagus only three times this year and each time I have used the same recipe. You can find it Michel Richard's book Happy in the Kitchen and I think it's called 'Asparagus on Asparagus'. It wouldn't be to difficult for me to fact check the name and make sure I was giving you the right information- all I'd need to do would be to walk across the kitchen and leaf through the book, but you'll have to forgive me, I just don't feel like doing that for you right now.

The truth is, when I made this dish for lunch earlier today, I didn't even refer to the recipe. I didn't need to. I'd already been inspired by it, taken from it what I needed to and then made it my own.

The basic premise is this:
-Take one bunch of fat asparagus and peel off the skins up to the tips. Discard skins.
-Trim off the cut ends, about an inch in length and reserve.
-Steam the asparagus spears for no longer than 5 minutes, until tender.
-Plunge asparagus immediately into an iced water bath.
-Meanwhile, put the reserved asparagus ends in a small pan.
-Add a glug of olive oil and a generous splash of water.
-Cook ends for about 5 minutes over medium heat until the water has evaporated and the tender are ends are glossy with oil.
-Leave ends to cool a little.
-Process the asparagus ends with salt, pepper, lemon juice and Dijon mustard to your taste, in a blender.
-Remove asparagus spears from the water bath and pat dry with a towel.
-Arrange spears on a plate.
-Serve the asparagus sauce alongside for dipping.

I make it all sound so easy, don't I? But rest assured it wasn't plain sailing getting to this point. The first time I was convinced that I should be thrifty and healthy and use the asparagus 'peelings' in the dipping sauce. Bad move. Not only were they woody and fibrous, they caused the sauce to be an awful sludgy green in appearance. Not peeling the asparagus may be healthier and less fussy, but it's the only way you are going to get that beautiful vibrant green colour on your plate and the tenderest of stems on your tongue. The next time I made the dish I had an audience to impress and I don't think I did such a great job. I avoided the excessive fiber on my second attempt, but even adding a couple of tips (as I did that time) to the dip deadens its hue. I'd also steamed the spears for at least 6 minutes. One minute too long in the sauna and these beauties become past tender to the point of flaccid and as any girl knows, that's not as much fun. Plus, I hate to say it, but the Grey Poupon which my friend had me use for Dijon on that occasion, didn't cut the mustard. Non-locavore as it is, the result of a Maille Dijon imported directly from France is more to my taste. It is spicier with less overpowering vinegar. (Yes, since you ask, it is different to the American version of Maille Dijon, which is slightly amusing to me since I just found out that all French mustards are made with American mustard seeds, anyway, I digress...)

So there you have it. Asparagus on Asparagus. Make sure you try it before the season is out...




QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?How to you most like to serve your asparagus?


Other Resources & Further Reading
More about Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen

© 2008 Sam Breach
Asapargus served with, well, Asparagus

29 Comments:

  • At 15/4/08 08:19, Blogger BB said…

    Beautiful asparagus! I'm especially happy about seeing the color change at the asparagus end, from the rich emerald of the tip to the pale yellow of the end. It looks exactly like the asparagus Delfina serves (with prosecco zabaglione).

    When I get the nerve to make a prosecco zabaglione at home, that might be my favorite way to make asparagus. But for now, my favorite is to make a pair, just like you did. With a bunch of asparagus, I'll usually steam half and puree, or boil and make a mousse, and roast the other half and serve with a hard boiled farm egg or sauce gribiche.

    'tis the season!

     
  • At 15/4/08 08:21, Anonymous enidd said…

    glad you're back sam! enidd likes hers with butter. and bread and butter. enidd likes butter, basically.

     
  • At 15/4/08 08:28, Blogger Kitt said…

    "As any girl knows ..." Hee hee!

    I got inspired by edamole earlier this year (made some for a Super Bowl party), but asparamole sounds even better!

    It does seem wasteful to peel asparagus, but unless it's super-thin, I find that peeling at least the bottom half vastly improves my enjoyment of it.

    I usually marinate mine in a little oil and herbs and grill it.

     
  • At 15/4/08 09:08, Blogger Kalyn said…

    Sam this sounds fantastic to me, so thanks for the trial and error!

     
  • At 15/4/08 09:55, Blogger Anita said…

    We usually just poach them in a shallow bit of water with some butter added to it, and then squeeze lemon over the top. over the weekend, it was too hot to cook inside, so we put some jumbo spears on the grill -- oh lord, they were fabulous.

     
  • At 15/4/08 10:07, Anonymous Fatemeh said…

    I didn't think there was a darned thing wrong with the asparagus that day, and to be honest, I had NO IDEA it was your first time making it -- you seemed an absolute natural!

     
  • At 15/4/08 11:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hiya, that recipe reminds me of the ones we do together. I miss you terribly--come do a New York dinner party.

     
  • At 15/4/08 11:16, Blogger Judy said…

    So far, my favorite way to eat asparagus has been grilled with a splash of olive oil and plenty of black pepper. But, now I'm going to have to try this recipe. I'm inspired.

     
  • At 15/4/08 11:19, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    You threw away the peelings??!
    :D

     
  • At 15/4/08 11:50, Blogger Owen said…

    The BEST way to serve asparagus (but not the prettiest) requires close attention the whole time. Heat cast iron skillet with a generous amount of olive oil and some crushed red pepper flakes. Trim asparagus to fit flat in skillet but do NOT peel. When oil gets close to smoking drop asparagus in skillet and then occasionally toss to coat and move in pan. Cook about 3 minutes to just before it starts to wrinkle. Squeeze on about a teaspoon of lemon juice and scatter a little kosher salt. Toss again to coat with salt/lemon/olive oil and serve HOT.

    The only better way is to do much the same thing but on the grill - then you get some smokiness too.

    All other ways are pale, poor imitations of asparagus flavor....

     
  • At 15/4/08 12:36, Anonymous debinsf said…

    The asparagus looks great. really beautiful and sounds delish. But really, I'm here to say that "you'll have to forgive me, I just don't feel like doing that for you right now." may be the very best words I've ever read.

     
  • At 15/4/08 12:57, Anonymous Stephanie said…

    I agree with F, those asparagus were perfect!

     
  • At 15/4/08 13:52, Blogger Rachael said…

    I find that book very inspiring. (Try the asparagus tucked into salmon...its terrific.) I actually tried this recipe and my sauce (which was more like vinaigrette) was pretty drab too. Thank you for sharing all your tips (ha ha) I will have to try it again. (And then I have to try the Shrimp Einstien!)

     
  • At 15/4/08 13:55, Blogger Casey said…

    I like to roast asparagus in a hot oven til just barely tender and then dress with olive oil, meyer lemon juice and grated zest and shards of reggiano.
    But this asparagus with asparagus idea looks great. I haven't cooked a single thing from the Richard cookbook-would love to know what others any of you have tried and liked (or dis-liked)

     
  • At 15/4/08 14:06, Blogger Sam said…

    Casey - look at the bottom of the post under Further Reading where this is a link to More about Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen that goes to a previous post about the book and lots of links to bloggers who have also made things from his book.

     
  • At 15/4/08 14:09, Blogger Erin said…

    Drizzling a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over asparagus spears and roasting them on high heat is my absolute favorite way to eat them! Topped with some freshly grated parmesan and cracked pepper...mmmmmmm....

     
  • At 15/4/08 14:55, Blogger Cali said…

    I'm afraid I'm not trendy when it comes to asparagus and I still like it best the way my grandmother served it. Gently simmered just until tender and cooled to room temperature (or just a bit warmer,) lightly salted, drizzled with a bit of lemon juice and dipped in Best Foods mayonnaise.

    Ideally, I like this served with lemon-pepper grilled chicken breasts. There is just something about the combination of chicken, asparagus and lemon that is greater than the sum of its parts.

     
  • At 15/4/08 15:40, Anonymous Jim said…

    Roasted with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Served with juice of half a lemon. Makes a great snack!

     
  • At 16/4/08 00:01, Blogger Pille said…

    A very neat idea! I've been putting the snapped-off lower stems aside, for the purpose of making soup. Usually I end up discarding them a few days later :(

     
  • At 16/4/08 06:00, Anonymous Helen said…

    You're right, flaccid is definitely not as much fun! I like mine firm thanks very much.....

     
  • At 16/4/08 13:42, Anonymous EB said…

    I think it's more how do I like it served TO me.... um with prosecco zabaliogne from Delfina thank you very much.

     
  • At 16/4/08 20:51, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'll eat it any way, but am totally happy cutting the ends, peeling it only partway up the stalk, and boiling for 5 minutes in salted water. And then adding just a squeeze of lemon. Heaven.

    Roasting/grilling is nice but hot. And really I can't be bothered with anything more elaborate as I am far too impatient to eat it.

    Nice to see you back!

     
  • At 17/4/08 07:31, Blogger Ms. Divina Loca said…

    Last week's good idea: Good idea: It was 83 degrees in San Francisco. I had beautiful asparagus and leeks and a chilled soup sounded perfect.

    Bad idea: Deciding to make this soup at 7:30 p.m. when my kitchen temperature was still the approximate temperature of the sun and having the oven on at 425 to roast the vegetables made it even hotter.

    Good idea: It was delicious.

    I didn't peel the stems (but did remove the woody bits), and after picking asparagus stem fiber out of my teeth, I learned that next time I'll pass it through a fine mesh strainer.

     
  • At 22/4/08 07:27, Anonymous Alanna said…

    Just wanted to let you know that your post is featured on BlogHer today! ~ AK

     
  • At 23/4/08 03:53, Blogger Karen said…

    I make this sauce to put over roasted asparagus made from soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and butter that is to die for.

    But when asparagus is in season (now!) it barely needs anything but extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper. We served some at Passover seder a few nights ago and it gone in an instant.

     
  • At 25/4/08 04:41, Blogger KT said…

    this reminds me of the asparagus at spruce restaurant in SF -- the best i've ever tasted. when i first had it i was surprised that the asparagus was peeled, but you do that too, so now i'm definitely going to try. maybe just butter lemon sauce on top though, wouldn't want it to be too healthy or anything :)

    thanks for sharing!

     
  • At 16/5/08 12:59, Blogger Pille said…

    Sam, I made this for dinner tonight with the first local seasonal asparagus spears (yep, the spring arrives later here in Estonia:)
    Excellent recipe, thanks for sharing!!

     
  • At 16/5/08 15:11, Blogger Sam said…

    I am so glad you liked it Pille. I find it is a very 'pure' rendition of asparagus.

     
  • At 23/5/08 08:37, Blogger Jeanne said…

    I'm so glad I discovered peeled asparagus - it turns the whole vegetable into something new and altogether less... chewy. I'm even more excited about this dip though - will definitely have to try it soon! As far as serving asparagus goes, I like them blanched and griddled, then served with either parmesan shavings or Hollandaise sauce (Maille again!).

     

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