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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #77: Asparagus, the Spear of Spring

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They look wonderful...with a nice glass of Chardonnay

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10 minutes ago, Okanagancook said:

They look wonderful...with a nice glass of Chardonnay

 

Thanks!  I went with a rosé because it was already chilled!

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This is an asparagus appetizer dish I did for Easter.  Simple blanched asparagus with sliced cucumber, then some lox-style salmon.  Lemon mayonnaise dressing.  The little pastry in the upper right corner is a savory gougere made with parmesan and then filled with a smoked salmon mouse.  Without the asparagus it would be pretty bland.

Eggland's Best #2.JPG

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Going through some of my archived food photos to get some ideas on asparagus dishes, I found this forgotten gem that I crafted as a spring dish with a Pacific Northwest theme-crispy-fried oysters, asparagus and wild morels (all from our region), along with fava beans, crispy prosciutto and celery leaf.  (Needed more dressing as I see it).  Asparagus isn't the only main attraction here, but it sure plays a big role.

Asparagus with Fried Oysters.JPG

 

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Nice seaonal local highlighter dish David. I have not been able to get to Farmers Market but will see if I can on Sunday and check out the asparagus and fava situation. The asparagus can be tailing off mid May in my region. As for the morels! - ha the only time I gathered any locals was when a load of mulch in the rose garden brought in some spores that found the right condition!  Just a few handfuls I shared with the identifier; but it was a fun treat.

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The crop of morels was very good two years ago, and fairly good last year.  Up here we always go by the previous wildfire season.  If the fires are especially bad, the spores travel through that hot wind and find a new home in another part of the forest. 

 

We should have asparagus into June and then it will trail off.  Sometimes I'll freeze some to use in a creamed soup.  I also use asparagus soup as the base for a nice pasta sauce.

 

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We love love love asparagus.  Before we got married we lived in a little rental house out in the country and I couldn't resist planting a nice sized patch of asparagus.  I thought there would be no way anyone would ever NOT want asparagus.  They plowed it up right after we left.  Sigh.

 

At my house now, one of the first things I did was plant asparagus again.  Over the years it's expanded quite a bit.  Now, we can never move because I cannot give up my patch.

 

Anyway, we usually eat it very simple-- steamed with lemon, butter and salt.  

 

This is another favorite.

 

Steam your asparagus.  Make some Italian dressing --I use a mix from Penzy's.  Lay asparagus on a platter, top with diced hardboiled eggs and capers and then drizzle with dressing.  Good stuff.

 

5afde954b47a3_IMG_45192.jpg.312b7098526a8af0854c398248ad0402.jpg

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Shelby I make the same salad.  Sometimes I'll scatter some fried onions or bacon over the egg.  Delicious.

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

We love love love asparagus.  Before we got married we lived in a little rental house out in the country and I couldn't resist planting a nice sized patch of asparagus.  I thought there would be no way anyone would ever NOT want asparagus.  They plowed it up right after we left.  Sigh.

 

At my house now, one of the first things I did was plant asparagus again.  Over the years it's expanded quite a bit.  Now, we can never move because I cannot give up my patch.

 

Anyway, we usually eat it very simple-- steamed with lemon, butter and salt.  

 

This is another favorite.

 

Steam your asparagus.  Make some Italian dressing --I use a mix from Penzy's.  Lay asparagus on a platter, top with diced hardboiled eggs and capers and then drizzle with dressing.  Good stuff.

 

5afde954b47a3_IMG_45192.jpg.312b7098526a8af0854c398248ad0402.jpg

Oh my that looks good. I love those lovely spears too. I'm now hungry and it is 00:03 here, I may have to do something about this. D

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One of my favourite ways to do asparagus is to trim it, put it in a microwave proof dish, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, then nuke it for a minute.

 

Here is tonight's attempt.

 

20180518_202020.thumb.jpg.b75c73c267a9604c2a2dd520b377fc6b.jpg

 

I also use the trimmings and woody ends by putting them in the potato boiling water, then discarding them when the spuds are ready. They add some mild flavour to the potatoes.

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I guess the thing about asparagus is that if it's good (fresh, flavorful, ripe) then an elaborate preparation can seem like guilding the lily. So it was with our dinner tonight.

 

These asparagus spears were larger around than my thumbs. We generally avoid the thick spears, expecting them to be woody, but they smelled fresh. I bought them. My darling gave me the fisheye. He thought nothing good could come of them.

 

He then picked up the first ears of corn of the season. I was as skeptical of his choice. Corn, in northern Minnesota, in May? Ha!

 

I used a trick picked up somewhere along in these pages, and peeled the bases of the asparagus spears. Lo and behold! That yielded far more length of tender and flavorful asparagus.

 

Dinner was salmon cooked in brown butter, then removed to the oven to finish cooking. The asparagus went into the browned butter after the salmon was finished, and slivered almonds spent the last few seconds in the butter as well.

 

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Those who wished could add a squeeze of lemon at the table.

 

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The plating is disgraceful, but we were delighted with the flavors. I'll remember the peeling trick, and sauteeing in brown butter. It was a nice celebration of spring.

 

20180519_205652.jpg

 

We forgave each other our skepticisms.

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Having snagged the last bundle of asparagus at the farmers market today, I determined to cook it last night. I cut it u, blanched and shocked it, sliced up snow peas, and diced and parboiled some carrots. Those went into a dressing of rice vinegar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, mirin and a dab of honey.

20180520_074417.thumb.jpg.eb71c788b9b5637247cd692d02707122.jpg

Had it with yellow squash, sauteed with o ion, and a caprese.

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I much prefer the thick stalks and yes, peeling them is essential.  

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And I thought I couldn't get any luckier.  Today this fresh WA asparagus was in the market for $ 1.46lb.  Last week it was $1.79.  It's been harvested about a 2-hour drive from where I live down in the Columbia Basin area that stretches from Walla Walla over to the Tri-Cities area.  It's been delicious and I've never seen the price this low.  But low price hasn't meant poor quality this season.

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Posted (edited)

616B491E-8A3A-474D-ADD7-EC87D5B2EE0D.thumb.jpeg.306abea9a34a0bc5d036f56ed17a20ad.jpeg

 

Asparagus was first blanched for about a minute, then quick chilled in an ice bath; drained and briefly stir-fried, then tossed with Soy Vay’s Teriyaki Sauce to coat. Served with Teriyaki Chicken Donburi, Mushrooms and Pickled Ginger.

 

5CDE13CD-D04C-4494-8E2A-F03106213612.thumb.jpeg.48f860ff63a3f4f7c9c1c388734feba8.jpeg

 


Edited by robirdstx (log)
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I can be out there tomorrow, if I can get flights...

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12 hours ago, robirdstx said:

616B491E-8A3A-474D-ADD7-EC87D5B2EE0D.thumb.jpeg.306abea9a34a0bc5d036f56ed17a20ad.jpeg

 

Asparagus was first blanched for about a minute, then quick chilled in an ice bath; drained and briefly stir-fried, then tossed with Soy Vay’s Teriyaki Sauce to coat. Served with Teriyaki Chicken Donburi, Mushrooms and Pickled Ginger.

 

5CDE13CD-D04C-4494-8E2A-F03106213612.thumb.jpeg.48f860ff63a3f4f7c9c1c388734feba8.jpeg

 

 

Delicious and now I've got that on my asparagus recipe list!

 

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On 5/13/2018 at 5:45 PM, blue_dolphin said:

Inspired by @liuzhou, asparagus spears wrapped in phyllo.

IMG_7794.thumb.jpg.de63fd9c452ab5939ad5f36e42bc6a53.jpg

Rather decadent.  Served with the Preserved Lemon Aioli from Shaya which is nice but I should have trusted myself and used less extra virgin olive oil.  At 1:1 extra virgin olive oil:canola oil, it's a little heavy tasting.

 

I'd say these stalks are medium sized and they were nicely cooked in the time it took the phyllo to brown. For super thin spears, you can wrap 2 or 3 together.  Big thick ones could be blanched but I think there's room to cook them longer in the oven without resorting to that.

I cooked these in the CSO at 350°F (mine seems to run a bit hot) on convection bake for 12 min, then turned them and baked 3 min more.  

 

Quoting myself here to report that I made a big batch of these for a gathering with friends over the weekend.  They were a big hit! 

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A simple asparagus dish I did last night.  I've been making a lot of miso soup in the past year.  Starting with a basic dashi broth and then adding miso, I found it a quick and deeply flavorful soup that adapts really well to all sorts of additional ingredients.  And while I was recovering from two orthopedic surgeries it was easy to make, yet far more satisfying than terrible frozen dinners.

 

Last night was simply homemade dashi and some white miso.  The white miso was what I had in the fridge but sometimes I use red miso.  Then blanch asparagus and a square of firm tofu.  Really brought out the texture and fresh flavor of the asparagus.

Miso Soup with Asparagus.JPG

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

Last night was simply homemade dashi and some white miso. 

 I might be forced to steal this idea from you.:)

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3 hours ago, Anna N said:

 I might be forced to steal this idea from you.:)

So simple.  Just make dashi, then add as much miso as you'd like.  I blanced the asparagus separately, but you could also cook it in the broth.  Then just a cube of firm tofu.  I thought about adding green onion or maybe a fried onion garnish, but thought it best to leave it bare to highlight the asparagus.

 

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1 hour ago, David Ross said:

So simple.  Just make dashi, then add as much miso as you'd like.  I blanced the asparagus separately, but you could also cook it in the broth.  Then just a cube of firm tofu.  I thought about adding green onion or maybe a fried onion garnish, but thought it best to leave it bare to highlight the asparagus.

 

 It has been added both to my recipe book and to my list of things that must be done soon!  

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What a great morning!  I was reminded by Facebook of a post some 11 years ago.  And it's the dish I've been searching for weeks to find so I could share it in our Asparagus Cook-Off. Fried Sweetbreads with Asparagus.  I get sweetbreads from D'Artagnan.  The asparagus spears were simply blanched and I think the sauce was a thin asparagus cream soup.  I didn't write down the recipe, but I remember it fairly well.  It would also be good with fried oysters or shrimp or some fried chicken livers. 

Sweetbreads (2).jpg

 

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Didn't get a photo of the last asparagus dish, but it's so simple.  Just take some store bought puff pastry.  Cut into rectangles.  Brush with egg wash, then put on some asparagus in a single layer.  Then a little parmesan.  Basically a puff pastry with asparagus.  It's really good with grilled asparagus then a pass under the broiler to melt the cheese. 

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5 hours ago, David Ross said:

Didn't get a photo of the last asparagus dish, but it's so simple.  Just take some store bought puff pastry.  Cut into rectangles.  Brush with egg wash, then put on some asparagus in a single layer.  Then a little parmesan.  Basically a puff pastry with asparagus.  It's really good with grilled asparagus then a pass under the broiler to melt the cheese. 

 

That sounds lovely!  @Shelby has recommended a Green Bean and Mushroom Tart that includes a bit of blue cheese and crispy shallots.  I loved it and I bet it would be smashing with asparagus, too.  If there was puff pastry in my freezer, I would be testing it out right now!

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