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Asparagus.

 
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peter
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 7:01 am    Post subject: Asparagus. Reply with quote

It's taken me a long time to find out, but asparagus only comes into its own when it is served as the main component of a dish, say a starter, with little in the way of accompaniment. For some reason, it is in some hard to explain way..... unsatisfactory as a vegetable served alongside meats. It doesn't quite work. But put it on a plate on its own with melted butter, black pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon and Bob's your uncle!

Here's one my wife did last night.

Part steamed the asparagus in water and lemon juice in a microwave with a sprinkle of Thai or regular seasoning. Took some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and heated them in a mix of their own oil and extra virgin oil (careful with this - very low heat) in the bottom of a saucepan. Nb. You are not deep-frying here, just lightly frying in it's own oil. Finished the asparagus in the same saucepan with the oil and tomatoes and then served with the tomatoes sprinkled over the top, a twist of black pepper and some of the oil drizzled over, a garnish of cress and a squeeze of garlic mayonnaise. A few drops of truffle oil dotted onto the plate as decoration is nice and adds another dimension of flavour, but careful with all of this oil - use it sparingly on the final plate.

The dish came out very well and I hope I have done it justice in my explanation of how she did it.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like it as a side vegetable. Especially with steak.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds wonderful, peter!
I agree with sarge, as well. I love asparagus as a side with steak. It's especially nice with hollandaise sauce or SD's homemade garlic aioli.

SD has asparagus planned as a side to our Easter lamb tonight, although I do not know what preparation he has in mind. I'm looking forward to it, though!
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree; I've been eating it alongside steak for years and never had reason to doubt it. But one-time in a restaurant I was served it as a starter with chopped chives and mayonnaise - and it had a beautiful simplicity about it that made it like the first time I had ever eaten it.

My wife and I commented on it at the time and then forgot. Time has gone on and a couple of weeks ago we had a few heads left in the pantry and rather than see it go to waste we just got it onto a plate with lemon, butter and black pepper as an intermediate course in a meal - and bang! It came back to me. It simply does better, does what it can really do, when it is served on its own.

Try it out in a variation of your own design and then tell me I'm wrong!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Variations on a theme, but interesting enough to note here, Mrs P did an interesting combination of asparagus and curried mayonnaise for a pre-starter last night. Simply dressed asparagus (lemon, truffle oil, black pepper) on a small bed of peppery rocket with a few strands of cress on top. The mayonnaise was prepared with normal mayo mixed with curry powder, cumin and a little tumeric and a twist of lemon. I've not had asparagus with an Indian twist before and it worked very well.

(Just to give homage to the rest of her efforts, we followed with spicy chilli chicken wings with a peanut and sweet chilli sauce, a green Thai curry and sticky rice and black current pie and ice cream to finish. Mmm - now that's fine eating! Wink )
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds awesome, peter! Kudos to Mrs P.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sgt.null wrote:
I like it as a side vegetable. Especially with steak.


Grill it with the steak. Put a little char on it. You add texture and flavor.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did a sheet pan of paprika sausages, shallot, green bell pepper, and asparagus this evening. Partially roasted the sausages (about 15 minutes) at 400 while the prepped veggies soaked up a marinade of apple cider vinegar, light olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Added the veggies to the sheet pan and continued roasting another 25 minutes. Crispy casing on the sausage tops and perfectly al dente veggies.

Thumbs up from both Dam-sel and Menolly, although the latter picked out all the bell pepper from her portion...as I knew she would. She is ever herself.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds fantastic SD! I love that umami caramalisation thing you can get going on food when it is properly prepared. I even managed to get it on a piece of skinless cod loin the other day by pan-frying it on a medium heat and finishing in the oven. The key seems to be not tampering with it once it's in the pan, rather having the courage to resist lifting it to peek underneath or turning it.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cod loin? Please explain. Had not heard of that cut with fishes.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So purely out of interest, (I don't eat asparagus because I find it vile), but it has the biggest carbon footprint of any other food, including veal and such. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find asparagus too hard to get right. Don't cook it the right way and you have unchewable fibers. Cook it the right way and it's good - and you spend the next several years trying to figure out how it came out good that one time.

BTW, sautéed with garlic and lime juice, with steak and béarnaise sauce and garlic mashed.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple of recipes I received in the newsletter from Sam Sifton, the editor of New York Times Cooking. You may need to register a free account to access them, and they do not stay accessible without a paid subscription. I recommend downloading or cutting and pasting in to a word processing program when you find a recipe you enjoy.

Pasta Primavera with Asparagus and Peas
Stir-Fried Spicy Asparagus
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cod loin Sarge; it's a squarish piece of thick cod meat, skinless and I'm guessing cut from the middle of the body (length and height wise) where the meat is thickest. It's the premium cut in the UK supermarkets price-wise, coming in at about nine dollars for two pieces. Best cooked in a thick based frying pan, seasoned with salt and pepper, for about three or so minutes, then finished by putting the whole pan into an oven at fan 180 for a couple or three more minutes. The meat will loose its colour (or changes a bit at least) and starts to look cooked (hard to describe, but you know it when you see it). It will loose a bit of its softness to the touch on the surface of the fish. Comes out nicely cooked but still soft and flakey in the middle.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another from the NYT which sounds good.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Tarragon Tart
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peter - sounds good. I'll try to get over.

Our favorite UK 🇬🇧 style pub in Houston closed. So we tried a new one last week. The Red LionI had the Guinness Beef Stew. It was amazing
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had asparagus and goat's cheese tart many times from an up-market store in the UK Menolly - not sure it had tarragon in it but certainly a good mix!

Beef in Guinness, Sarge! A well known combination in the UK. Great 'hearty' food. If you are a Guinness fan, it might be interesting to you to try a beer called Mackeson (if you can find it). It's a 'velvet stout' (or 'porter') of the same dark solid body as Guinness, but sweet rather than bitter. As a drink I prefer it to Guinness, but for cooking I'm not so sure.

Little anecdote about Guinness; they say that the best Guinness to be had is that which they brew (and keep) in Ireland, made from the waters of the River Liffey which flows through the heart of Dublin. I spent a fortnight in the city and further south many years ago and was very much looking forward to putting the truth of this to the test. On my first night I went into a crowded bar (all Dublin bars are crowded - always) and ordered my pint. The landlord drew the pint and said, "For sure you'll need to leave it to settle for a while before you drink it", and looking at the white foamy mass in the glass I saw this to be true. I looked at my pint, looked around the pub, looked back....... and my pint was gone! This was neither the time nor place for an Englishman to be calling out the regular and noisy patrons of a pub in Dublin and so I left, quietly to try my luck elsewhere. I kid you not, exactly the same thing happened in about four pubs before I managed to actually get one that I I drank. The landlords had a way, the patrons all crowded round, the noise and laughter, of making the damn things vanish before your eyes. That was Dublin back in the day!
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2021 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll check Whole Foods in Houston for Mackeson. Ty.
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