In John Besh's new book, "Cooking From the Heart," ($40), he dedicates a chapter to vegetables called Vegetable Love. And, veggie lovers will appreciate these recipes, many of which could easily outshine the usual suspects that turn up on the Thanksgiving table.
Think instead about a Fava Bean and Tomato Ragout, or battered and deep-fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms with Tomato Vinaigrette. Or, this candidate for our own Thanksgiving dinner, White Asparagus with Poached Egg Dressing.
We'd say that any asparagus would do, from purple, green, white or white with green tips. This recipe, though, gives tips on how to treat white asparagus, which is done a little differently from the green variety: It must be cooked a little longer at at a lower temperature, says Besh, so that it loses its astringency and develops a sweet, delicate flavor.
White Asparagus with Poached Egg Dressing
1 bunch white asparagus, about 1 1/2 pounds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
1/4 cup verjus (see note)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 small bunch fresh chives, snipped
Leaves from three sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped
Trim about an inch from the ends of each asparagus spear, then peel with a vegetable peeler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the lemon juice and sugar. Drop in the asparagus and simmer for about 10 minutes; drain.
Bring the eggs to a simmer in a small pot of water. Remove the pot from the heat and cover. Let sit for about 3 minutes, allowing the eggs to slowly cook. Crack the eggs into a blender, making sure you have removed all of the egg from the shells.
Add the garlic, shallots and verjus to the blender. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and blend. With the blender running, add the olive oil slowly, until everything is fully incorporated and the dressing is creamy and pale yellow. Pour the dressing into a small bowl. Fold in the chives and tarragon and season with salt. Serve the asparagus with the warm dressing.
(Note) Verjus, also called verjuice, is a high-acid juice made from pressed, unripe grapes (or sometimes with another sour fruit, such as crabapple). If you don't have verjus, try lemon juice, an acidic young white wine or vermouth.
Makes 4 servings.
From John Besh, "Cooking From the Heart"