Spring Luxury – Parisians’ Preparation of Asparagus
No matter you would like to cook asparagus in the oven or microwave, it is soon and easy. Or you would like to cook asparagus on the grill, it is simple as well. Asparagus is not only good for you but also good for your family.
One of spring’s delicacies is the asparagus in the plates. In addition to the commonly seem green asparagus, white asparagus, white asparagus with purple tips or even purple asparagus are available in various markets in Taipei. Of course, the price varies according to the diameter of the stalk, from under 1cm to the colossal size of over 3cm. When seeing about 2cm in diameter white asparagus with purple tips in the organic market near Yuan Shan MRT station in Taipei, it felt like finding a treasure.
The white asparagus reminded me of a special summer drink in Taiwan – sweet white asparagus drink in a can. Many years ago, it was only available in a fancy restaurant or when you are invited to a wedding banquet. A small can covered with the photo of a woman bending down wearing a bikini, that’s refreshing enough. The canning flavor from the tin overpowers the sweetness of the asparagus. I was questioning why it was a prized drink? It is still available from the supermarket nowadays at a very low price. The photo is still there.
For such delicacies, a bunch of white asparagus was cooked in salted water and cooled in cold water and served whole.
Asparagus is equivalent to luxury served in a high-end restaurant. My first time to enjoy it was a friend’s treat in her apartment in Washington DC. It is one dish out of a whole table of dishes and she kidded about that it is her version of Danny’s Diner. I was quite sure, there is no asparagus dish in Danny’s. Asparagus was cooked, plunged into ice water and serve with a sauce. What I tasted was her hospitality.
For the commonly seen green asparagus, especially the ones with larger sizes, how the Parisians prepare it. As I have seen a Parisian chef explain on TV, you need to peel them all the way to the top when you have colossal size asparagus. Let’s cook.
Steamed Asparagus with Honey Dijon Mustard Sauce
Preparation: 15 minutes
Overall cooking time: 1 hour
Skill level: elementary
Number of Servings: 4
Asparagus (2cm in diameter) 16
French Dijon Mustard 1T
Ice 1 Cup
- Hold each asparagus with 2 hands close to 2 cm from the bottom of the stem and find the natural point to break it. Discard the tough portion. Of course, if you prefer, you can collect all of them and use it in a vegetable stock.
- Use a peeler to peel off all outer skins of the stem, except for the tip portion of about 5cm. As in step number one above. You can collect all the peels and put it in stock.
- Heat a large sauté pan. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1t of salt and bring to a boil.
- Add prepared asparagus, cover with a lid and cook for 3-5 min. Use a steak knife to pierce it to make sure it is cooked.
- Transfer immediately into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. When asparagus is chilled, move to a serving plate and spoon over the sauce made with 1 teaspoonful of grain Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoonful of honey.
- Keep in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before it is served.
Variations: add the juice of 1/4 of a lemon into the sauce above, or you make mayonnaise from scratch for a richer texture.
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