ceramic platter from Fifty One and a Half
Everyone needs a new recipe for asparagus just about now, right? Asparagus season is great but after a while, you need something new to do with this vegetable. This sauce is the answer. It's a breeze to whip up and chances are your guests have never eaten this. It's a delicious blend of fresh herbs, chopped eggs, capers, vinegar and olive oil. The French and the Italians both have their versions, but this version comes from the Queen of Food herself, Ruth Reichl.
Some versions of this sauce include anchovies and/or lemon juice. Ruth's version includes neither. She uses capers, which are classic in this sauce, and they add just enough tang to give this sauce the punch it needs. This sauce is so good I have to stop myself from just eating it with a spoon!
When you buy capers, please don't buy those awful things packed in vinegar. Seek our salt packed capers - they really are superior. Just give them a quick rinse in water. They have a great taste and make a big difference.
In this recipe, the asparagus is steamed but you can certainly roast it in the oven or grill it. Either way you fix it, be sure to cook the asparagus until it is tender - it brings out the sweetness of the vegetable. Too many people, including chefs, are afraid to cook vegetables until they are tender and instead stop too soon and leave an unpleasant, raw taste that really doesn't bring out the best in the vegetable. That trend has been around since the seventies and hasn't died yet. What a shame. The Italians, however, know how to cook a vegetable.
Asparagus with Green Sauce
for a printable recipe click here
this recipe includes no salt because the saltiness from the capers is usually enough. Taste it at the end, though, and use your own judgment whether to add a little salt or not.
2 bunches of asparagus (use whatever amount you like - this doesn't matter so much)
2 eggs, hard boiled*
2 small shallots, minced
2 tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon chives, chopped finely
1 tablespoons minced capers (the ones packed in salt, please), finely minced
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon good mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
* the proper way to hard boil eggs is to place them in a medium saucepan and cover them with water by about one to two inches. Place on the stove and bring to a boil. When the water starts boiling, shut off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for about 12 minutes. Remove the eggs and place them in a bowl of ice water. Peel.
Trim the harder ends off the asparagus. Place in a skillet with about 3/4 cup of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Let the asparagus cook until just tender. Remove and place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to cool.
Peel the hard boiled eggs. Roughly chop. Place the minced shallots in a small mixing bowl. Add the finely chopped parsley, the chives and the capers. Stir in the olive oil and mix well. Add the mustard and vinegar and mix. Stir in the chopped eggs and a few good grinds of black pepper. Allow to sit for about an hour for everything to absorb the flavors.
When ready to serve, place asparagus on a serving platter and spoon the chunky sauce over. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe from Ruth Reichl