asparagus appetizers sans bacon, pretty please
April 14, 2011 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Give me your best vegetarian appetizer/hors d'oeuvres recipe using baby asparagus! The catch: it should go well with sour beers.

Not much more to say. I dislike asparagus, but our CSA delivery gave us a beautiful, perfect bunch of slender asparagus stalks today. It's just about one pound. I don't want them to go to waste because of my weird picky eating preferences, and we happen to be going to a sour beer party tomorrow, so I thought I'd make something I can bring to that to share with friends. It needs to be train-transportable and vegetarian. Preference will go to any recipe that I can make without having to go to the grocery store, so you can assume a well-stocked standard pantry. We have lots of spices, the usual assortment of nuts, and we also happen to have (and I would love to use up): tons of oranges, tangerines, apples, some potatoes, fresh green onions, feta cheese, a bag of fresh spinach, plenty of parsnips, a head of green cabbage.

Thanks for your help, O MeFi Recipe Mavens.
posted by booknerd to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Asparagus needs nothing more than a nice homemade mayonnaise.

Steam for less time than you think, plunge in ice water, chill, and serve with a nice hand-whipped mayonnaise with perhaps a little dijon mustard in it. Ten minutes, tops.
posted by gyusan at 1:16 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think that blanched asparagus, melon, and feta would be good, and it would be light, springy, and a good complement to sour beer.
posted by rossination at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2011

This asparagus salad is pretty great - use regular oranges instead of blood oranges.
posted by zamboni at 1:24 PM on April 14, 2011

grilled asparagus w/ balasamic vinegar (recipe close to what i've tasted)
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Asparagus needs nothing more than a nice homemade mayonnaise.
That works or even easier: a little bit of good olive oil and vinegar.
posted by mmascolino at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2011

If you're making for a limited number of people and want to go fancy, you can make some really good-looking asparagus appetizers :
1. take 2-3 stalks (steamed) and cut in ~half (the end with the tip slightly longer. Make a bundle that has 4-6 stalks and 2-3 tips where the tips poke out extra. If you were doing this for a side-dish with a meal I'd do full-length stalks, but for apps it's cuter to cut them, and that fits in a big flat tupperware better.
2. Some sort of flexible flat vegetable, lay a slice flat on a plate.
3. Some sort of tasty flavorful paste, put a glob on the flat, lay the asparagus stalks on top of it.
4. Roll up the flat veg and secure with a toothpick. The tasty paste holds the spears from sliding out and the toothpick keeps the outside form unrolling.

When I had this, it was a mushroom and goat cheese duxelles laid on a thin-slice oval of (steamed) yellow summer squash.
In your case, you could do a feta/spinach/scallion thing with a wrap of cabbage leaf (probably a 3" wide strip) or a possibly use a veg peeler to cut a ribbon of the parsnip.

Alternately, set your pieces of asparagus on a wedge of pita and hit the center with a glob of hummus, don't bother trying to roll it up, the hummus will hold it in place.
posted by aimedwander at 1:47 PM on April 14, 2011

With beers, grill it definitely. Salt it, + maybe some balsamic.
posted by smoke at 3:59 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Please, oh please - don't grill baby asparagus! You will overwhelm their delicate little sensibilities.

Blanch 'em in salty-like-the-ocean boiling water. Take 'em out after three or four minutes at most. Plunge 'em immediately into a water-and-ice-cubes. Dry 'em off and lay 'em out, neat like, on a platter. Sprinkle with a good, light olive oil and squeeze half a lemon over 'em. Kosher or sea salt, some freshly ground black pepper to finish. Toss 'em about a bit and refrigerate for... Some time.

They'll be crunchy, and full of flavor.
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 5:17 PM on April 14, 2011

Oof, thanks for all the great recommendations that I wasn't able to use. :(

When I pulled the asparagus out of the fridge this evening, half of them had gone all slimy and soft already. I ended up blanching the ones that were left, chopping them into 1" pieces, and tossing them into a salad with farro, tomatoes, red pepper, green onions, dill, and feta with a sherry vinaigrette. Hopefully people will like it!
posted by booknerd at 5:22 PM on April 15, 2011

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