All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2017

Monday, February 7, 2011

perfect asparagus







Nothing says Spring is coming like the first bundle of asparagus you see in the grocery store. Of course, here in New England, it will be a long time before home-grown asparagus peeks their pretty heads above ground, but at least we're heading toward gardening time.


My father adored asparagus, so, as a child, we ate it alot. Simmered, dipped in brown butter and a few squeezes of lemon, salt and pepper is still my favorite way to eat it. I have made one change - instead of a platter of long spears, I now cut the spears in half, or thirds, if they're really long. And while dipping is fun, half of the butter ends up on your shirt or lap, so I toss the cooked asparagus in the brown butter and lemon juice, then drizzle the remaining sauce on top just before serving - and serve with a fork. Make sure you cook the asparagus long enough - nothing worse than undercooked asparagus.


Trimming the asparagus:


Wash your bundle of aspargus well and drain.

Working spear by spear, bend the base of the spear until it snaps off. This assures you don't get any tough stems.

Trim ends with a knife so they look tidy.

Working with a handful at a time, cut the spears into halves or thirds.

*


Cooking


Add water to a large skillet or pot and bring to a boil, then turn down heat to medium low.

Add just enough asparagus to cover the pan ( don't crowd the asparagus) and cook until asparagus is tender. Drain and set aside, then cook the rest of the asparagus the same way.


Drain the water off, place back on heat, and add a few tablespoons of unsalted butter to the hot pan. Cook gently until the butter foams and turns a light brown, then add a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice and salt. Toss the cooked asparagus in the skillet or pan briefly, then use tongs to arrange on plates or serving platter. Drizzle the rest of the brown butter over the asparagus, and grind fresh pepper on top, then serve immediately.
Enjoy ! We had an ice storm yesterday, the the trees are still coated and sparkling today, but the power stayed on - and I'm passionately thinking of Spring with every bite of "grass".








16 comments:

Suzy said...

Isn't asparagus lovely. I like to toss it in olive oil, s & p and roast for just a few mins in a hot oven. Marvellous stuff!

Martha said...

Yum! I like it this way too. I just bought some today. I found a creamy asparagus soup that I was hoping to make. Might have to try roasting it like Suzy does. I like it fresh out of the garden too. Delicious!!

The Food Hound said...

I brown butter and pour it over my steamed broccoli-- never met anyone who has the same habit!! We eat asparagus a lot, so I will have to try it your way! I usually roast it with lots of Italian seasoning. Can't wait for spring and the GOOD stuff starts to come up!!

katrina said...

Suzy - I'll give this a try for sure, though I've been underwhelmed by roasted veg so far. Love my asparagus really soft and tender! I suppose it has to do with what you grow up with:)

katrina said...

Gosh, Martha - it's been ages since I've made asparagus soup! I remember loving it, but not as much as I loved the very messy buttery spears.

katrina said...

Hey, Food Hound! I love it! Three comments, three different ways of cooking asparagus!

winestainedcloth said...

My father used to love asparagus made the same way! I like to vary things a bit so I frequently make a balsamic vinaigrette to pour over it, slightly heated. We have some very young asparagus growing in the garden right now! I can't wait until they are ready.

katrina said...

I'll have to try that sometime, Donna - it sounds lovely, even if it doesn't involve BUTTER:)
Clearly I am living on the wrong coast, do you really have asparagus coming up right this minute? So jealous.

winestainedcloth said...

Kat, we sure do but they are skinny little pencil spears right now. They are already about 4 inches long though.

Barb said...

Can you even imagine asparagus in your garden right now? (Ours would be buried in an awful lot of snow!)

Nothing says 'spring' like asparagus - I'm really looking forward to that!! It's a treat to find some in the market right now! Yours looks so delicious!

katrina said...

Barb - the snow out there is like concrete, so those asparagus would have a mighty hard time getting through!

I agree, though - certain things like asparagus, fragrant strawberries, watercress - and the opening of the farmers markets - all say Spring to me, too!

kellypea said...

Just brought home some asparagus for tonight and this has me wanting it now for a late lunch instead. Love to blanch it, the sauté in some olive oil and garlic then squeeze on some lemon. But I'll take it any way.

katrina said...

Give me brown butter! Kelly, you're right - any old way is the best way, but I still loves my brown butter:) Enjoy your "grass"! ( I never knew asparagus, in the produce world, was known as grass until a delivery was made to the restaurant, and the vendor said " one case of grass". I said " Excuse me?",thinking of a different kind of grass that my friends were indulging in. He explained, and calm prevailed.)

Barb said...

Oh, Katrina, you are so funny! I doubt I will ever look at asparagus again without thinking of 'grass'. Thanks for the chuckle!

Kitchens said...

it's been ages since I have made asparagus soup! I keep in mind loving it, but not as much as I loved the messy buttery spears.

katrina said...

I'm with you, Kitchens -eating those messy spears in your buttery, messy fingers really celebrates the season - and the delight of asparagus!