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The March of Asparagus


Priscilla
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Will never forget being in Austria and Germany in May several times, when the white asparagus comes into season.  Ohmigiosh - it's absolutely EVERYWHERE - on restaurant menus, at roadside farm stands.  The entire population goes asparagus crazy for about 4-5 weeks while it's in season.

sorry to quote such an old message, but just thought it was worth mentioning that they actually have a word for it: "Spargelessen".

Some German friends were asking if we had this custom in the States. Had to answer that the stuff is pretty much the same price and quality the whole year round in many parts of the country. (Which is to say, neither too expensive nor too overwhelming in terms of quality at any time.)

I love those fat white spears, but I rarely get them here. We also used to get verry skinny wild ones in Lebanon when I was growing up. Those were so delicate you could just toss them in a frying pan for a minute and then scramble (bright yellow home raised!) eggs over them. Man...

These days I like the wrap blanched spears in ham with a slice of Fontina and bake method, and roasting is of course great. Then I like to serve homemade mayo or alioli on the side for dipping.

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I love serving asparagus at RT or slightly chilled with a gribiche sauce over (fresh herbs (parsely, tarragon, chives, chervil), chopped, hard-boiled eggs, shallots, capers, gherkins, lemon zest, olive oil, lemon juice and salt).

A great way to cook the spargel is: snap off woodier ends according to where they naturally break. Lightly peel stem end. Drop into boiling, salted water. Cook for ~ 10 min depending on thickness of spear. Good way to check doneness is to lift a spear on the stem end using tongs. If the spear droops ~ 30-45 degrees it is done. (I check the thinner spears first). Immediately plunge into ice water bath to chill; then lay on dishtowels to drain. Then chill until use.

As others have mentioned, asparagus risotto is sublime.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I went to the wood and found these (asparagus acutifolius )

gallery_17184_739_13992.jpg

and served with fettuccine and clams

gallery_17184_739_137388.jpg

Also i cooked the withes

gallery_17184_739_98649.jpg

and served with a chicken cooked with pears and pears sauce

gallery_17184_739_89605.jpg

Delicious :wub::wub::wub:

Edited by calimero (log)
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Here is risotto with asparagus, porcini mushroom and robiola cheese

Ingredients: rice, porcini, marjoram, tyme, shallot, robiola, asparagus butter, dry withe wine and vegetable stock.

Back at you from the other side of the world.

I did use dried porcinis, and a combination of the soaking liquid from the mushrooms, chicken stock, and the cooking liquid from the asparagus. Also did not have robiola, and used some parmesan instead. Also, I saved the tips of the blanched asparagus and added them to the rissotto at the end.

Turned out very tasty. Marjoram is a great match for porcini and asparagus.

asparagusrisotto.jpg

fixed image link

Look pefectly delicious!!

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I went to the wood and found these (asparagus acutifolius )

gallery_17184_739_13992.jpg

Those were the ones I was talking about! Lucky you!

Not so much, they are in full season, but it's also full of dangerous mushrooms (sorry for the quality but i used a mobile phone):

foto0378uw.jpg

foto0355gc.jpg

foto0364fo.jpg

The last two are very strange: like a withe golf ball outside, exagonal inside... :shock::shock::shock::biggrin::biggrin:

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Made pan roasted scallops with musrooms and asparagus puree from the French Laundry cookbook. Easy to make, although you go through enough pots and pans that you'll dread the clean up long before you finish cooking.

You're supposed to use morels, but I couldn't find any. Following the recipe you do end up with a shockingly green puree - much brighter green than I would have expected.

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My favorite preparation is nap and peal. If I’m in a hurry I just boil in salted water using a shallow skillet for two or three minutes then plunge into an ice bath. If I have more time I like to toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and oven roast. I drizzle with a simple garlic vinaigrette and garnish with a few of the smaller inner rings of a red onion. I prefer tasting the asparagus rather then the sauce or dressing.

This is a great side dish for a perfectly grilled medium rare steak or Tri-tip roast.

Here in Ontario, I have noticed the Mexican asparagus for the last couple of months. Its quite pricey at about two and a half to three dollars per pound. I can’t wait for the thick stalked California crop to make its way to our markets.

Eliahu Yeshua

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

- Alice May Brock

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I skimmed over the entries here and didn't find this one (pardon the bandwidth if it has been mentioned before).

This method works best with the thick asparagus. After trimming, peel the tougher, lower parts. Then heat a bit of olive oil (or butter/olive oil mixture) in a pan to medim high. Lay the stalks in the pan, but keep them uncrowded. Leave them untouched for a couple of minutes until they start to brown. Then, flip them over, add salt and a little stock, cover, and steam until done. Top with a drizzle of lemon juice if desired. Delicious. A flavor reminiscent of the roasted version, but done much more quickly.

I read about this method in a recent magazine (Fine Cooking?), but now I can't remember exactly where it was. We use the same method for other vegetables too. I just hate leaving the flavor in the pot of boiling water.

Check out our Fooddoings and more at A View from Eastmoreland
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For my seder this weekend, I made a Barefoot Contessa recipe for asparagus with shallots. The recipe actually is for green beans with shallots, but since you can't serve green beans on Passover, I made it with asparagus.

Anyway, first I blanched and cooled the asparagus. Then the shallots were sauteed in butter and olive oil with some salt & pepper. That's it.

It was so simple, and SO delicious!

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Last night, I did asparagus on the grill. Marinade: minced garlic, salt pepper, evoo and i think most importantly balsamic. On the grill, good color, then back into marinade. They sat there for about another hour and then I warmed them up in the oven before i served. Gooood flava. I generally shy away from balsamic but the sweetness worked well with the gus.

Snozberry. Who ever heard of a snozberry.

-Veruca Salt

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  • 10 months later...

A recent spate of asparagus appearances over on Dinner! made me think it was time to revive this discussion.

Had asparagus quite a bit already in 2006, the other day blanched and dipped in mayonnaise as a finger-food accompaniment to sausage sandwiches.

The next day, cut-up leftovers went into a Japanese udon soup with teensy Manila clams and cubes of soft tofu.

Anticipating roasting, grilling, proscuitto-wrapping, Pecorino-Romanoing, cream-souping, & c.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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:wub:

the costco here has been offering relatively cheap asparagus lately (i consider anything below $2/pound as cheap for asparagus), and i've already made several batches of roasted asparagus, a stir-fry with shrimp, scallops, shiitake mushrooms and asparagus, and a huge batch of cream of asparagus soup. i'm sure SO will get sick of it all soon, but he hasn't complained or turned green yet, so i'll continue taking advantage of asparagus season as long as possible!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Since asparagus will be in our farmers's markets for at least another week or two, I am bumping up this thread for yet another exhortation today. I seem to be having a string of remarkable luck after a period of fine, okay or just boring food.

At any rate, in this thread, the Zuni Cafe Cookbook came up as one of the California/Waters type of book that has disappointed. I defended it, but confessed to have prepared only eight recipes from it.

Number nine revived my enthusiasm: Asparagus Soup with Rice and Pancetta :shock::wub:

Each spring I always make asparagus soup at least once. As someone mentioned earlier in this thread, the once favorite vegetable inspires burn-out after so many years. This is especially true of cream-based asparagus soup which I always insisted had to go with buttermilk cornbread.

THIS soup, on the other hand, is perfect if you've got a good batch of chicken stock in the freezer along with slices of pancetta. The only change I'd make, with a nod to therese, is to use a Vidalia onion. (I like the fact that this cookbook includes weights for ingredients, BTW.)

The onion is softened slowly in olive oil. Then add stubby white rice along with good stock. While that simmers, saute tiny bits of pancetta in more olive oil along with thin diagonally slivered asparagus. The local purple stalks mixed with green (Michael Pollan: "Did you know 70% of the world's asparagus is shipped from China?'' :hmmm: ) are lovely and retain their color since they are cooked very briefly. When ham bits become crisp-edged nuggets, the whole schmiggle gets dumped into the stock along with coarsely ground black pepper. Boil for 1 minute. Ta da.

No need for bread, so there's room for seconds. Nibble some slightly aged Sardinian cheese. Couple of green French olives. Honor the Franco-Italian roots of Judy Rodgers' culinary awakening. Wonderful.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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  • 2 years later...

Seems like it's been a long time since we've discussed the wonders of asparagus in these parts! I just got a batch from my wife's co-worker who can't eat all the asparagus she's getting. I'm a big fan, especially of asparagus as an omelette filling. Anyone else have any great new asparagus recipes I should give a try?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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It's probably my favorite quiche filler-upper. Thinly slice & sautee with some garlic (not much) and leek in some EVOO until still quite crispy. Diagonal slices are the best, because they're pretty, but you get good surface area as well. Let cool, toss into your crust and top with you custard and cheese. Gruyere blends really well with the asparagus. As a matter of fact, I made this very thing last weekend. It was excellent. A little crisped bacon would not be a bad thing to add, either.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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I like the minimalist peel and steam approach, with a little sea salt. I almost always remove the outer lower two thirds with a peeler then stick them in the bamboo steamer.

Rolling them in a thin slice of Westphalia ham or something similar is nice, or with melted sharp cheese.

I love asparagus.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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i'm tweaking a pork loin roulade for an upcoming "spring flavors" cooking class. so far, the best version was with sauteed red onion, leek and mushrooms, with whole asparagus spears in the center of the roulade. it was good, and the asparagus gives a cherry polka-dot effect in the middle.

for plain asparagus eating, roasted in a hot oven until the little tips frizzle is my fav. shave a little parm-reg over that, and i'm set for dinner!

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I've been eating a lot of asparagus recently, and while I love the simple preparations, you can only eat so much before you want a little variety. My evening plans were cancelled due to inclement weather, so I decided to have at an asparagus cheese soufflé. I can't even remember the last time I made savory souffles, so it seemed like a reasonable element of variety. Et voila:

gallery_56799_5925_7517.jpg

It's just a regular cheese soufflé (a bit heavy on the Gruyere because I love the stuff), with some sauteed asparagus added to the bechamel. I also fried up some potatoes in duck fat and butter, along with the rest of the asparagus (since the soufflé can't hold that much).

Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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