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Asparagus Is Perfect for the Grill


Asparagus on the grill.

Easter may be over, but my hunger for asparagus isn’t.

Here are two recipes that are great for the grill.

The first is from Simon Hopkinson’s “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” (Hyperion, $24.95), which is a great resource for those looking for solid recipes that are often easy to put together. He reminds us of just how versatile these spears are and how well they go with certain foods.

“Asparagus lends itself to the simplest of preparations,” he writes. “Most obvious is to serve with with melted butter, or just hollandaise on its own. i have come to the conclusion that, in fact, eggs are its favorite companion: buttery scrambled eggs, soft-boiled or poached eggs using asparagus spears as ‘soldiers,’ or eggs baked en cocotte with cream and tarragon.”

The other is a simple grilled asparagus dish I threw together with items out of the fridge and freezer.

Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan

24 large asparagus spears
Extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
3 to 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, in a piece
Lemon wedges, to serve

Heat a ribbed cast-iron grill or skillet. Brush the asparagus spears with some of the oil, and cook until nicely charred on all sides. Transfer to a large white dish, season lightly with salt and plenty of pepper, and sprinkle with the chopped egg. Using a potato peeler, shave slivers of Parmesan over the surface, drizzle with more olive oil, and serve with the lemon wedges.

From “Roast Chicken and Other Stories” by Simon Hopkinson with Lindsey Bareham

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnuts

Grilled Asparagus with Hazelnuts

Asparagus
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
Hazelnut oil
Toasted hazelnuts, broken
1 egg, sunny-side up (optional)

Prepare the grill. Drizzle how much asparagus you want to eat with a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus until charred on all sides. Place on a platter and drizzle with a light amount of hazelnut oil. Sprinkle toasted hazelnut pieces. Top with an egg if desired.

From John Griffin

 

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Asparagus and Pecan Butter


Asparagus and Pecan Butter

Want to give your asparagus a little flavor boost? Try this version with butter, citrus and pecans added to the mix.

Asparagus and Pecan Butter

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Lemon zest, for garnish

Combine the water and salt in a skillet and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until they are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and cool in an ice-water bath. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and orange juice and whisk to blend. Cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle with the sauce. Garnish with pecans and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

From “Pecans From Soup to Nuts” by Keith Courrégé and Marcelle Bienvenu

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Linguine Gets a Boost From Fresh Asparagus and Peas


AsparagusLinguine With Fresh Asparagus and Peas

This is a simple and wonderful dish from Sanford Winery to serve for a casual elegant dinner party.

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and rinsed
1 cup shelled fresh peas or frozen
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Zest of 1/2 lemon, finely minced

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus and boil until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. When cool enough to handle, cut the spears into 2-inch pieces.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the peas and boil until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. (If using frozen peas, follow directions on package.) Drain and rinse immediately under cold water. Drain well and set aside.

In a skillet large enough to hold all of the cooked pasta, sauté the garlic and shallots over medium heat until softened. Add the cream and cook over low heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the linguine in a large pot of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain but do not rinse.

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Add the asparagus and peas to the sauce and bring to a low simmer over medium heat. Add the linguine and toss to coat well. Add the Parmesan, salt, pepper and lemon zest, and toss well. Serve immediately with additional grated cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Wine pairing suggestions:

  • Rancho Sisquoc Sylvaner 2007
  • Channing Daughters Tocai Friulano
  • Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Chardonnay 2005
  • Mumm Napa Brut Prestige
  • Talley Bishop’s Peak Santa Barbara County Pinot Gris
  • Nickel & Nickel Searby Vineyard Chardonnay 2006

From “The Vineyard Cookbook” by Barbara Scott-Goodman/Sanford Winery

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Simple Yet Elegant Recipes Fill ‘The Vineyard Cookbook’


VineyardCookbook1Barbara Scott-Goodman’s “The Vineyard Cookbook” (Welcome Books, $24.95) is the type of cookbook I generally hate. The recipes are from numerous vineyards, which all too often means they call for pretentious ingredients none of us is like to keep in our cupboards. You know what I mean: ground duck breast, ciliegine (cherry-sized balls of fresh mozzarella), fresh goat’s milk or persimmon purée.

Plus, the recipes are divided into seasons, the times of year when the ingredients should be available. But whose seasons? Not South Texas’, that’s for sure. We have heirloom tomatoes available at various times in spring, summer and fall, not just in the summer when her recipe for Heirloom Tomato, Basil and Feta Cheese Salad appears.

I’ve never seen fresh peas here. Does that mean I’m not to make the Linguine With Fresh Asparagus and Peas (click here)? Not on your life. This is a dish you can make with asparagus any time of year and frozen peas.

WarmOlives3

Warm Mixed Olives

Yet, when I started to look at the recipes, my appetite took over and I embraced “The Vineyard Cookbook” in a big way. Why? Because the recipes are largely easy yet elegant, relying on the freshest ingredients prepared in the simplest ways possible. Nothing’s too fancy or fussy. And the photographs show you how beautiful these recipes can be on your dinner table.

[amazon-product]1599620642[/amazon-product]Who wouldn’t love Warm Mixed Olives (click here), a dish that goes together in minutes and yet could be a perfect appetizer or relish tray accompaniment? Or a simple Golden Walnut Cake With Fresh Berries and Cinnamon Cream? I can’t wait to make the Blue Cheese Caesar Salad, the Creamy Carrot and Chive Soup or the Buttermilk Biscuits.

These are the types of dishes you expect the people at wineries like Chateau St. Jean, Paraduxx, Nickel & Nickel or Willamette Valley Vineyards really eat when people aren’t looking. Though, I do have to ask, where are the recipes from Texas wineries? Maybe in the next edition.

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