|Having promised easy...this one's for the more adventurous amongst you! Asparagus tart...|
Asparagus is a favorite vegetable because it's impossible to mess it up. In fact, the less you muck around with it, the better it tastes. Over the years, we've steamed, stir-fried, sauted and even grilled this distinctive, unassuming Spring vegetable -- but now conclude that roasting is the cooking method that brings out the best in asparagus.
While asparagus is usually served with a lemony Hollandaise sauce, to our mind, lime knocks the socks off lemon as a pairing. We're not suggesting that you try and make Hollandaise using limes - what a novel thought! - but rather try dousing your asparagus with a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and a smidgen of pepper and rock salt to dust your asparagus before you roast it in a hot oven (around 400) for 10 minutes or so. A quick blast in the oven retains the crunchiness of the asparagus, while the lime gives it an unusual edge. Many people enjoy grilled asparagus but, unless you keep a close eye on the grill, then the tops of the spears tend to get frazzled and quickly burn, particularly on the spindly young Spring asparagus that I prefer.
So roasting's the way to go.
Another oh-so-easy idea for asparagus is to steam a bunch (either use a steamer or cheat and cover spears with water and cook in the microwave until it acquires the texture you prefer), allow to cool and then wrap with a small slice of proscuitto.
If you like the flavor of black truffles then you can make this nifty appetizer even more memorable by drizzling a teensy amount of truffle-flavored oil on the proscuitto spear, or another option, serve with your favorite dip - I'm currently infatuated with a ricotta truffle dip...
Our friend in the U.K., Jenny Cowell, who is an adventurous cook and likes to share both her successes (and failures) on Facebook, baked and photographer a truimphant asparagus tart using pre-made filo or puff pastry and Spring spears. Ravishing.
|The first ever Asparagus King - newly crowned in the U.K. But is that a cowboy hat he's sporting..?|