Posted at: 04/19/2013 5:04 PM | Updated at: 04/21/2013 1:36 PM
Ways to Use Spring’s Favorite Vegetable
Chef Mike Burdick is currently seeking out his own restaurant space in upstate New York. His philosophies center on wholesome fresh local seasonal ingredients; for the purposes of this episode of “Let’s Eat” he has chosen fresh Asparagus as it has become a signature vegetable of the Spring Season.
All Recipes can be adjusted to taste, and feel free to experiment while the fresh Produce is Available.
You Can follow Chef Mike on Twitter @Mylavi12804 for updates on Restaurant Progress as well as ask any question regarding preparing food at home.
Tips and Tricks with Asparagus
The old adage to snap each spear and it will break where it is supposed to works for some preparations, but for the purposes of appearance, cutting each stem 1 or 2 inches from the bottom works just the same.
To eliminate some of the “woody” flavor and texture associated with Asparagus, you can gently peel the stalk downwards, starting just below the tip. It also allows for a brighter appearance and creates an easier surface to sear or grill on.
(Skinny Pencil Asparagus is very difficult to peel, and doesn’t need to be done necessarily as it doesn’t have the same textural and rigid body that Jumbo thick Asparagus does)
White Asparagus is often nice to use, especially in a cold preparation, say a salad or garnish, as it is slightly more bitter and acidic than traditional Green Asparagus. It is grown in Darkness to inhibit the chlorophyll from activating and changing it to green, thus also not producing as much sugar as Green Asparagus does, changing the flavor as well.
Asparagus is often overcooked and loses all color and balance when that happens. I will show a few quick cooking options and variety to Asparagus, and in doing so, keep in mind that I am using only Fresh Asparagus from the local market. Jarred and Frozen options are fine, but for the Chef, Fresh is Best.
I am making an Asparagus Frittata for this Portion of “Let’s Eat” and I will serve that warm with a cold salad of Asparagus, Radish, Grapefruit, Cucumber, and Tomato. The Nice thing about a Frittata is that it is great any time of day, and any time of year. Change your Ingredients based on what is readily available that season and develop your own versions to share. It is easier to make than an omelette and allows the ability to feed a larger group of people with something universal in appeal but also free to adjust as needed.
• 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
• ½ cup chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
• 3 Cups Chopped Asparagus
• 1 clove of garlic Chopped
• 8 large omega-3 eggs
• 1 cup diced Parmesan cheese, divided in 1/2
• Fresh Herbs (to taste)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pre Heat Broiler in your Oven
In Large Non-Stick Pan, Melt Butter and Sautee over medium heat The Leeks for 1-2 minutes. While Sautéing, Crack the 8 Eggs in a Separate Bowl, season with S+P, and Whisk together Completely. Add the Garlic and Asparagus to the Leeks and Lightly Season With S+P for 1 minute more. *Add ½ Cup of Parmesan Cheese to the Sauté Pan and Pour the Egg mixture Over the mixture to coat evenly and completely. Slightly stir to ensure ingredients are mixed completely into eggs and cook gently over medium heat. Cook until it seems 2/3 of the Eggs have settled, turn off heat and put in oven on lower deck. Once it seems to be fully cooked (firm to touch), about 10 minutes or so, top it with the rest of the cheese and move it higher up in the oven just to bring cheese to a bubble. Remove, let set for maybe 1 -2 minutes. Carefully slice and Serve.
*At this point you can add any number of other precooked ingredients, such as Bacon, Ham, Shrimp, Crab, Blanched Vegetables, and even BBQ chicken!
Blanching Asparagus is the best way to “Par-Cook” Asparagus and also one of the easiest ways to prepare Asparagus for a variety of uses.
*Chef’s Tip- To do all Asparagus together, safely, and evenly, tie spears with Twine
To blanch, bring a Pot of Salted Water to a Boil (about 2 tablespoons of Salt to 1 Gallon of Water), once boiling, drop in your prepared spears for 30 seconds. Turn off Burner
Remove Spears from Boiling Water and Instantly Submerge In Ice to Stop the Asparagus from Cooking.
You just shocked them.
Remove from ice bath and place on a clean absorbent towel or on paper towels over a raised rack.
Asparagus is now Ready for whichever Use you Need.
Blanching in the Boiling Salted Water Locks in that Seasoned Flavor and also the bright Color
Great in Small Amounts, say for a garnish, or Ribbons in a salad, Even Raw coin shaped pieces garnishing your favorite Soup.
Simply wash the asparagus, Peel it if Desired, And Shape to your Desire
Cooking With Asparagus
Once you have your blanched Asparagus Shocked and Dried, there are infinite Numbers of Possibilities you can do at this point. Serve the Spears Cold with a drizzle of Simple Vinaigrette, Sautee Them in a Pan with Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Coat Them in a flavored Mayonnaise and Char Grill Them outside for a Smokey texture and taste.
• 1 small garlic clove
• 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
• 1 teaspoon Dijon
• Fresh Herbs (to taste)
• Salt and Pepper
Whisk All Ingredients Together, Adjusting S+P to taste
*To Grill Blanched Asparagus, Simply Mix 2 Tablespoons of Store Bought Mayonnaise with Pepper, a sprinkle of Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Hot Sauce, Barbeque Sauce, or anything you like. Develop your own flavor and mix it into the mayonnaise. The dried Asparagus will adhere to the coating and you can instantly grill the spears, or pan-fry them, for a new version of the Vegetable.