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Dressed-Up Asparagus PLUS How to Make Great Hard-Boiled Eggs

April 24, 2012

Asparagus season is here!

In keeping with the bb philosophy, my favorite methods of  preparation for asparagus are super-simple and healthful.

I love to:

  • roast them- tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes
  • bake them – in an aluminum foil packet with a squirt of lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and a little seasoning in a 375 degree oven for 15–18 minutes
  • saute them – quickly, with a little olive oil and a little seasoning, until just barely tender
  • steam them – actually, more often than not, that’s quasi-steam them because I tend to not want to pull out the steamer pot. I do this for broccoli and a little fresh ginger, green beans, and carrots too. I put about an inch and a half of  water in a large saucepan, add a splash of olive or grape seed oil to the water, a little salt & pepper (do you notice a pattern here?) and sometimes a split clove of garlic. I bring said water to boil, throw in the asparagus, bring water back just to the boil, cover, askew (a bit like my personality) and lower heat and steam gently for a few minutes, 2-3 for skinny, 4-5 minutes for the chubbier guys.

Chubbies

Peel the fibrous bottoms

When I remember, I peel the bottoms of the chubby asparagus. That eliminates those fibrous strands that get stuck in your teeth – most unpleasant – and makes cutting at the table much easier. I used to prefer the skinnies, thinking they were more tender, but when I peel the chubbies, I like those more.

Semi-steaming asparagus

Sometimes, I feel festive and want to do a bit more once the asparagus is finished.

A holdover from the past that’s still got a hold on a segment of the population is Hollandaise sauce- that thick pale yellow sauce poured over vegetables – comes to mind in connection with special occasions or dressing up. Yikes– that’s a super-duper rich mayo! Lots of egg yolks and melted butter is what’s in there. And if we’re going to use this stuff, my vote is let’s lessen it significantly in meals and use it instead in moderation for wonderful baked goodies (translation: dessert). Are you with me?

Vinaigrette for asparagus

The nominees

And the winners are…

Egg-slicer doing double-duty as a chopper

A lean, clean and super flavorful vinaigrette enriched with a few choice tidbits over heavy ho-hum-daise? Don’t even have to think about that one. And that’s no yolk.

Dressed-Up Asparagus

Ingredients:

1 lb. chubby asparagus, with ends trimmed and peeled
3 T. olive oil
2 scant T. champagne vinegar (or a good white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 t. Dijon mustard
pinch (or two) of sugar
1 scallion, chopped (or 1 T. minced shallot)
1 T. chopped fresh herbs (I used Italian parsley and dill here)
salt & pepper
2 t. capers
2 hard-boiled  egg (scroll down for a bonus on hard-boiling eggs)

Directions:

Hard boil eggs and chop. Set aside.

Wash and trim chubby asparagus. Steam for 5 minutes until just tender (or to your liking). Pull out of water and set on serving dish.

Make sauce by whisking olive oil, vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Add salt, pepper and pinch of sugar. Add chopped onion or shallot and herbs. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Pour across center of asparagus. Sprinkle drained capers and chopped hard-boiled eggs  over sauce.

Serve as a side for 4 people or as a light lunch for 2-3.

bb note:

Experiment with your vinaigrette ingredients. If too tangy, you can add a pinch of sweet. Start with a little less tang and add more. Remember, it should have a little zip before you toss it with your veggie/salad. Try the recipe once with lemon juice and the next time with your favorite white vinegar.

Fresh herb ideas: Italian parsley, oregano, basil, dill, tarragon, chives (if no green onion).

Which do you prefer?

ps How many times did I type olive oil in this post? Yes, some might say just type EVOO (I may be a tad dull at times, but it took a moment to register the first time I saw  it). I don’t know, but it smacks a bit like waving your country club membership at have-nots. Not my cup of tea.

This bonus is adapted from Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times. I love him.

Making  a Nearly-Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

(He said “Perfect”. Does perfection really exist? I’m reluctant to make these claims.)

Take eggs out of fridge for a few minutes to take the chill off them. Place in WIDE (this is important) saucepan so that eggs don’t go bumpity-bumpity into each other. Put in enough water to cover eggs. Bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit there for 20 minutes. That’s it.

Now here come possible variations based on a little snooping.

  • keep on heat source
  • remove from heat source
  • keep cover on
  • take cover off
  • let sit for 10 or 15 or 20 minutes

Give each egg a quick tap on counter to crack before placing in a bowl with ice water. If you’re not going to use them right away, put them in ice water without cracking and store in fridge for up to 3 days before using.

I’ll be testing all of these variations out in the near future. Novio and I will pretend we’re on the $10,000 Pyramid – jumping up and down shrieking, “Things that have to do with hard-boiled eggs!!!” – NOT – we don’t jump.

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2 Comments
  1. Jean permalink

    Hi Judy, Thanks for your variations on asparagus. I like them all. Here is one more for you:

    Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Drop in the asparagus after snapping off the bottoms. Continue boiling for 5 minutes. Scoop out the asparagus with a slotted spoon and drop into ice water. This keeps the bright green color. When the asparagus has cooled, scoop it out and put in a glass loaf pan. Marinate overnight in any good vinaigrette. Serve cold the next day as a side dish or a pot-luck offering.

    Love, Jean

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