Monday, March 19, 2012

Strange things are poking out of the ground

It's that time of year where every day brings a new surprise from nature. What was brown and dry yesterday urns to green grass overnight. The plain soil suddenly has something green and fragrant popping out of it, and you start hearing Tiny Tim playing in your head, inviting you to do things that the neighbors would probably disapprove of. Tiptoe-ing through any flour bed is generally a bad thing for the plants ! At the supermarket , crops of seasonal veggies start appearing. One of my favs this time is Asparagus ! It is a nutritional good guy, inspiration for many dishes, and reminds us that everything in nature looks weird at some point in it's development. When asparagus is fully grown, it's a gigantic fern like shurb, but at the stage where we eat it, it can resemble a dinosaur like plant waiting to happen, or.....

Canned asparagus is a crime against nature. Frozen asparagus is somewhat better , but still too mushy for my tastes. I like to eat it where it is , what my father termed as, scared. Exposed to just enough heat to begin to break down the cellular walls of the plant. Blanching ) placing in boiling water for a moment and then plunging into ice water) is an excellent way to do this. This recipe has you preforming this exact form of cullinary art.
Sesame Asparagus Salad

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (thin is better)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey

Trim the woody ends off of your asparagus and then cut into roughly one inch pieces
 Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil, and get a bowl and fill it with very cold water. When the water boils, drop the asparagus sections in and boil for 1 minute- no more ! Remove immediately and place in the ice cold water- this stops the cooking process. Your asparagus should look vibrant green
Next, assemble your dressing ingredients
In a small bowl, measure the dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour over the asparagus and refrigerate for 2 hrs.

Simple as that ! While your dish chills, you will be free to entertain temptations placed inb your head by Tiny Tim. It's spring after all and tulips will not be around forever !


Jeremy Logsdon said...

I have never tried blanched veggies OR cold asparagus. I may have to try both of those this week. :)

Di said...

I think the reason I like asparagus done this way is that it still has some crunch and it does not have that funny sort of sulphur taste that happens when it is cooked in other ways. Blanched veggies maintain their vibrant color, and make nice additions to salads. You can use this method for green beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and a few others- looks really pretty in a pasta salad and brings out the flavor much more than raw.