April 8, 2011
It’s Asparagus Season! To kick off this time of green goodness and well, let’s be honest, smelly pee, I’d like to share one of my absolute favorite, simple asparagus recipes.
This is a classic preparation that is always a crowd pleaser. The asparagus’s blistered skin gives it a great nuttiness while maintaining a good crisp and crunch. I have made this as a side dish for dinner parties with adults, an appetizer for families, and as a snack for the children at my daughter’s school’s Garden Club, all with incredible success. Like most recipes with few ingredients, the key to this dish is getting the best possible asparagus.
For this preparation, you always want to find the thickest possible stems with tightest flowers. If you use the skinny kind, your cooked asparagus will get stringy and limp (and come on, no one wants a limp anything!). Our local farmers market or produce markets (if you live in SB I like Tri-County, Mesa Produce, or the stands at Fairview Gardens and Lane Farms) are great places to look for seasonal thick and fresh asparagus. I actually grow my own in my garden, and while I don’t get a ton of yield, I do get a harvest two times a year in spring and fall – lucky me!
To figure out where to cut your asparagus, grab the head or flower tip and the end of the stem then snap it in two by hand. If you do this, rather than cutting it with a knife, the stalk’s woody stems will naturally separate from the part you want to eat. You can save the bottom part for stock or discard it in your compost.
Serves 4 – 6
2 bunches of asparagus
2-3 tablespoons of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Set your two burners on low or simmer and place your grill pan on top of them. Then, crank up the heat to medium high. If you turn up your burners to high and then set your grill pan on after, you might end up searing the hair off your arms.
Prepare the asparagus spears and place them on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of EVOO and a healthy pinch or two of salt.
Move the spears around to coat all of the veggies with the EVOO and salt. Once the pan is smoking, cook until the asparagus skins blister, turning with tongs from time to time. If your pan is hot enough this should only take 3-5 minutes