Posted on March 23, 2009 by tangstein
Must be spring: asparagus is flooding the farmers’ market in SoCal, so I hope things are warming up in the rest of the country, too! Here’s a twist on asparagus served with hollandaise – it’s certainly lower in fat than that classic sauce and adds some protein to a vegetarian meal. Just remember cooking the sauce requires a fine balance: you want to cook the sauce on a low enough heat that it won’t separate, but you also want to heat it long enough that the starch is cooked out. If you add the cold beaten egg directly to the hot sauce or cook it to rapidly, you’ll end up with egg drop soup! And a note on asparagus – only buy this veggie from the vendors who store them upright in a bit of water, and when you get it home, if you’re not cooking it right away, store upright in a tall glass with a bit of water at the bottom.
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 c homemade stock or broth
- 1 T cornstarch mixed with 2 T cold water
- 1 T oil
- 1/2 T Shaoxing cooking wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Snap the tough ends off the asparagus where they break naturally, then rinse, drain, cut into 1.5″ lengths or roll-cut. Blanch and shock.
- Bring the stock to a simmer, then add cornstarch mixture and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, then simmer 1 m more to cook out the starchy taste.
- Whisking constantly, gradually add 1/4 c of the hot stock mixture to the egg, then add the egg mixture back to the hot stock mixture, whisking constantly. Heat gently until thickened – it should not reach a simmer. Remove from the heat, season with 1/4 tsp salt and keep warm.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium high heat just until it shimmers.
- Add the asparagus and stirfry until crisp-tender.
- Add the cooking wine and 1/4 tsp salt, stirfry to allow the sherry to evaporate, then remove to a serving plate.
- Drizzle with the egg sauce and serve immediately.
Filed under: eggs & tofu, vegetables | Tagged: asparagus, eggs | 1 Comment »
Posted on August 13, 2008 by tangstein
Asparagus is definitely going out of season by now, and if you live where it’s being imported from South America, save your money and this recipe until next spring. But if you are lucky enough to find some fresh, locally grown asparagus, make it quick – before time runs out! This is a delightful dish with a light, clean flavor which is enhanced by the natural “msg” found in mushrooms.
- 1/3 lb fresh oyster mushrooms
- 1/2 lb asparagus
- 1/2 T oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cut off the tough stems of the mushrooms, leaving the tender part intact. If the mushrooms are large, cut into halves or quarters.
- Snap off the ends of the asparagus stems where they break naturally. If the stalks are thicker than a pencil, peel the stem end with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
- Blanch and shock the asparagus, then roll cut or cut into 1″ sections.
- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat until it shimmers.
- Add the mushrooms and stirfry gently for 1/2 m.
- Add the asparagus and stirfry until it is crisp-tender.
- Season to taste with salt and serve.
The asparagus can be blanched, shocked, and cut up to 1/2 day ahead of time.
- Total calories 44, calories from fat 17
- Total fat 2 g, saturated fat 0 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Sodium 299 mg
- Total carbs 5 g, dietary fiber 2 g, sugars 2 g
- Protein 3 g
Filed under: vegetables | Tagged: asparagus, mushrooms, stirfry, vegetables | Leave a Comment »
Posted on July 29, 2008 by tangstein
Asparagus is available year-round at the conventional stores now, but it’s certainly best in spring and summer and bought from the local farmers’ market – avoid it in other seasons, when it’s likely to have traveled many miles, getting tough, using up fossil fuel, and losing a lot of nutrition along the way. (On this and many other food topics, I highly recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s wonderful essay about waiting for asparagus in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.) When you buy asparagus, regardless of size look for firm, unshrunken stems and tightly-closed tips. The best produce stands will store the bunches upright in a bit of water – take your cue from them, and when you get home, cut a bit off the bottom, stand the stalks upright in a glass with a 1/2″ of water in the bottom, and put it in the fridge. Better yet, cook it the day you buy it!
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 T light soy sauce
- 1 T sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- Snap off the ends of each asparagus stalk where it does so naturally.
- If the spears are thicker than a pencil, peel the bottom ends.
- Cut in 1.5″ lengths or roll-cut.
- Steam (or blanch) just until crisp-tender and bright green (if you get to olive green, it’s a bit too well-done), then then shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color, draining well when cold.
- While the asparagus cools, combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- 10-20 m before serving, combine the asparagus with the dressing, and serve.
Asparagus and dressing can be prepared up to 1 day in advance.
Do not combine until 10-20 m before serving, or the vegetable will turn an unattractive olive color.
Filed under: cold dishes, vegetables | Tagged: asparagus, cold dishes, marinated | Leave a Comment »