Continuing to honor vegetables of distinction, today we give thanks for the return of spring Friday, and the savory shift it brings. Strawberries, artichokes, fava beans, radish, peas, and green garlic all return in glory, with a special shout-out to asparagus in today's starring role of this delicious rat pack of flavor and crunch.
photo by Christine Krieg
Once you break off the woody bottom (which always seems to magically break in the right place), leave the spears whole or cut them. A unique slice, one where eaters may not even know what vegetable they are eating, is coins; cut each spear crosswise into ¼" ? ½" pieces, leaving the tip a little longer. Sprinkle with salt and a little cumin, garlic or onion powder, turmeric, garam masala, lemon pepper, Sriracha, hoison - whatever your favorite spice or liquid seasoning. EZ Seasoning really needs no more than this.
Since asparagus waits for no one ? please don't overcook. Sauté and grill only a few minutes over high heat until bright green, or roast at 400°F 5 minute of so, shaking the pan a few times while it cooks.
Lucky for us, asparagus has two crops a year, one in the early spring, and one in the late summer / fall. I look forward to the second crop best because "they got skinny legs, like I always wanted. " Pick up whole and slide into your mouth like crispy straws.
Sometimes forks are overrated.
Asparagus Coins with Wine Soaked Sun-dried Tomatoes
Use these marinated tomatoes with any seasonal vegetable you have on hand.
6 oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Chop the tomatoes into a small dice. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes with the red wine and let marinate at least ½ hour (they can marinate in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.) Slice the asparagus spears horizontally into ¼ - ½-inch "coins," leaving the asparagus tips at about 1 ½ - 2-inchs in length. Preheat a large sauté pan to medium high heat. Add oil and asparagus and sauté until bright green, but a little brown (caramelized) around the edges about 4-5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the wine and add to the skillet. Add basil, stir and serve.
photo by Laura Stec
"Not naive," Conch shell corrected him. "He simply has not been taught to fear the things (some) fear." ― Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All