Asparagus advice

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Asparagus advice

Postby Jim Cassidy » Sat May 27, 2006 3:51 pm

I had this dish as an amuse at Les Abeilles (The Bees) in Sablet, France recently. (Les Abeilles is our favorite place to eat anywhere, and I will rave about it soon on the travel page.) I want to try it at home; the trick seems to me to be cooking the white asparagus perfectly.

White asparagus, cut into rounds; the diameter was slightly larger than a nickle and approximately 1/8" thick. I asked the chef if they were sliced before cooking, and he said no...

Tiny strips of thinly sliced ham (a local product that seemed similar to prosciutto.)

Finely chopped chives.

Small dollop of whipped butter.

The asparagus was definitely the star, the proportions of ham and chives were very small. The asparagus was firm, but cooked, not at all crunchy, and all was served at room temp.

My thoughts on getting the asparagus perfect...

Prepare an icewater bath...

Cut tips off asparagus and reserve for something else.

Place asparagus in a pot of cool water over medium-high heat.

When water starts to boil, start testing by pulling a stalk out, cutting and tasting. Test every 30 seconds or so until perfect, then place into ice bath.

Would this work?

Anybody (Chef Carey, this means you!) have an easier method?

TIA
Jim Cassidy

Owner, Millcreek Vineyards

(The prettiest vineyard in the Salt Lake Valley)
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Re: Asparagus advice

Postby Jenise » Sat May 27, 2006 5:06 pm

Jim, several thoughts:

1. I wouldn't behead the asparagus, but cook them whole and reserve the cooked tops for another salad or nibble (like roll it inside a sliver of lox, then spritz with a vinaigrette).

2. Every time you pierce the asparagus--unless you designate one as a decoy to avoid piercing all--you create a way for the spear to absorb more of the cooking water which will give you a water-logged vegetable that will cook faster than it's brethren. Better to test cook one spear, decide when it's exactly right, then cook the rest per that prescription. You should find that about ten minutes works.

The salad you describe sounds delicious. Was there no dressing?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Asparagus advice

Postby Jim Cassidy » Sat May 27, 2006 10:57 pm

Jenise,

Thanks for the input.

There was no dressing, just a tiny bit of soft butter on top.
Jim Cassidy

Owner, Millcreek Vineyards

(The prettiest vineyard in the Salt Lake Valley)
Jim Cassidy
Wine guru
 
Posts: 1535
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:00 pm
Location: Salt Lake City


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