SPRING MEANS ASPARAGUS!
This week on Culinary Philosopher, we are featuring asparagus. It’s true that asparagus is available all year ’round but not too long ago asparagus was only available in the spring. These days the quality and price are much better in the spring than during the rest of the year. You should be able to find a variety of asparagus: pencil thin, big fat, the normal medium size that you see all the time and as an added bonus, white asparagus is abundant and can be found in your finer grocery stores and farmer’s market at this time of year. From now until the end of summer is an exciting time for produce. Something different can be expected every week. I know you are waiting with baited breath and want me to get on with it, so here is the recipe.
Today’s feature is medium green asparagus. The recipe calls for boiling the asparagus in heavily salted water. Do not use the pencil thin asparagus with this cooking method because you will have mushy, limp, stringy, overcooked asparagus before you can say, “Bob’s your Uncle.” Pencil asparagus will be featured later this week.
Lemon Parsley Butter:
- 4 oz. unsalted butter softened (1 stick)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed, about ¼ lemon)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool. Using plastic wrap, roll the left overs into a tube shape and place in the freezer for future use. May be used on other vegetables, fish or meats. This compound butter has been called Maître d’ Hôtel butter and is the traditional accompaniment to steak with frites (grilled steak with french fries).
Heat a sauce pot with 1qt. of water and 1 Tbsp. of salt over high heat and bring to a rolling boil (lots of bubbles vigorously bubbling). The fibrous ends of the asparagus need to be removed. To find out where the good asparagus ends and the fibrous part begins, hold the fibrous end of one spear in one hand and the middle of the asparagus in the other hand, bend the asparagus until it snaps. Using that spear as a guide, line up the rest of your asparagus tips and cut the asparagus with a sharp knife to match the length of the snapped asparagus.
When the water is at a rolling boil, place your asparagus into the pot and immediately set a time for 1½ minutes. The asparagus will be tender crisp at this point. Remove the asparagus with tongs, or strain into a colander. Serve immediately with the lemon parsley butter. Enjoy!