Monday, August 2, 2010

When Simplicity Is Best

One last asparagus dish before asparagus season is a thing of the past. This vegetable is a favorite in our house, and we seem to prefer it simply prepared. Fresh asparagus tossed with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper and grilled until the tips become crisp. Juicy spears blanched until tender-crisp and tossed with butter. A perfect vegetable doesn't need much help to shine.

On another note, if you haven't already heard, I've entered Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw Challenge. Please check out my meditation on the meaning of cooking well and then vote for me to win!

If you're crazy about my essay, you can even vote daily. The winning essay will be published in the paperback edition of Medium Raw. To those of you who've already been voting, I owe you a big thank you with sugar on top!

One more thing, registration for fall Clark College cooking classes is now open. I'll be teaching Sensational Salads for Fall, Seared to Perfection, Soup Series: Chinese Favorites, and Soup Series: Deli Favorites. If you're in the Vancouver, Washington area, please join me. Classes are fun, educational, and you get to eat some pretty fantastic grub! And don't forget, you can always find my current class listings in the Lucy's Upcoming Cooking Classes sidebar on the right.

Asparagus with Parmegiano Butter*
Printable Recipe

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
1 clove garlic, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
Kosher salt

Blend together the butter, Parmegiano, and garlic in a small bowl. Season to taste with pepper.

Blanch the asparagus in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender (but do not shock). Using tongs, transfer the asparagus to a paper towel-lined plate and drain for about a minute. Toss together the asparagus and Parmegiano butter in a large bowl. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 4. The Parmegiano must be finely grated, preferably with a microplane, so that it adheres nicely to the asparagus. Top each portion with a sunny-side-up egg for a wonderful brunch.

*For information on making and using compound butters, including a variety of compound butter recipes, and everything you ever wanted to know about searing, plus dozens of fabulous searing recipes, look for my book Seared to Perfection in stores in October.


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