Asparagus recipes, please.
March 28, 2013 11:00 AM   Subscribe

I've volunteered to bring an asparagus dish to an Easter brunch. The brunch is already way heavy on meat dishes, so I want something light and springlike to provide a contrast. Anyone have good asparagus recipes?

Ham, Bacon, Rashers, Bangers, Turkey and Lasagne, in case you were wondering. (There's like 25 people coming.)

I've been poking around on the net, but most of the recipes I can find seem to be roasted or grilled or covered in cheese, and that's the opposite of what I'm going for. I was thinking something with a bit of acid might be good, but I couldn't find anything in that direction.
posted by Diablevert to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

My favorite way to do asparagus is this:

Toss some asparagus in some olive oil and spread out on a baking sheet

Roast (I know, just gimme a sec) it at 400 for about 10 minutes

Meanwhile, on the stove, melt a few (maybe 2? 3? whatever) tablespoons of butter and add a 2:3 ratio of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar

Cook that until it gets a little boily

Pull out the asparagus and pour the sauce over it

Put back in the oven for another 10 minutes

Take out and sprinkle some sesame seeds on it

Boom. It's light, acidic, has a good bite but soft enough to not get all asparagus shreddy up in your teeth, and so yummy.
posted by phunniemee at 11:05 AM on March 28, 2013 [12 favorites]

Would you like a soup? I recently doctored up (packaged) pho base for a dinner party. After the soup pot was boiling, just added a whole lot of asparagus (cut spears in thirds), plus water chestnuts, chives, baby spinach, cilantro, lemon juice. Would have been better with hot sauce and lemon grass. It was light and delicious. To bring to a party, just use a nice soup pot with a lid.
posted by third rail at 11:15 AM on March 28, 2013

Can you just steam it and season with some lemon zest, maybe a little lemon juice, butter, and salt and pepper? Springy, light, acidic and delicious!
posted by MadamM at 11:22 AM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]

I know you said to lessen the meat...however...
Wrap prosciutto around 3-4 sprigs (depending on thickness) of the asparagus, sprinkle lightly with cheese (or not), and bake in the oven at 375 for 10 minutes or so.
You will be loved.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2013

I really love this recipe for asparagus with almonds, eggs, and yogurt. It ends up being really light with a bit of a tang.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 11:24 AM on March 28, 2013

I'm not sure why roasted is out of the question? That's always how I make it because it tastes great and takes about 5-10 minutes (crunchiness to taste, keep checking it since it cooks really fast). Toaster oven works great for this.

My standby is olive oil + some lemon or lime juice + dill, and a bit of salt and pepper if you like. Delicious and light. You don't have to use much oil - it doesn't taste greasy at all if that's what you're afraid of.
posted by randomnity at 11:26 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

You could steam or blanch it, then toss with a vinaigrette. It would be good warm or cold that way.
To be fancy-ish make your own vinaigrette. Chop up a clove of garlic with some coarse salt (to make a paste), chop a shallot, combine these in bowl with juice of a lemon, dab of Dijon mustard and several glugs of olive oil (amounts are obv approximate, but you will need more oil than acid). Add pepper and whisk. Can sprinkle it all with more salt if needed.
posted by maryrussell at 11:28 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

My aunt brings a huge platter of lightly steamed asparagus with a couple of sauces on the side, one of which is always garlic aioli, and it's awesome. Making the aioli is hard the first time so practice once.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:36 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

Roasted is the "barest option". That's how I would cook it for a tuesday night. Its great. Plain, but great.

I would probably do a light vinaigrette (w/ mustard and shallot) with cold steamed asparagus, but it also works well with a sauce ravigote, or you could split the difference and do it mimosa style - vinaigrette and then covered with finely diced hardboiled egg white and yolk.
posted by JPD at 11:40 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Here's a nice white and green asparagus salad with pistachios and blue cheese. Looks like it could be served warm or cold.
posted by Spinneret at 11:42 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I've been meaning to make SK's Ribboned asparagus salad with lemon because it sounds like it would taste like a face-full of Spring. Making enough asparagus ribbons for a potluck, however, might kill you.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:47 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

However prepared, asparagus with Hollandaise sauce is simple to make, delicious, and very Easter brunch-esque.
posted by lstanley at 11:49 AM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]

Serve it with a gremolata - lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper.
posted by cecic at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

REAL mayonnaise, fresh lemon juice, stir. That's it. Nothing else.
I know it sounds too stupidly me tho, people will ask for the recipe.
(Also awesome on steamed broccoli, or any other plain vegetable...and a little goes a long way)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:57 AM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Lyn Never. That salad IS amazing. Astoundingly good. I ate nothing but that salad for three days straight, only stopping because... well. You know. Bathroom stuff. It will take forever for a potluck though, unless you have a really amazing mandoline (I use a potato peeler).
posted by AmandaA at 12:04 PM on March 28, 2013

For Deb's Smitten Kitchen Ribbony Asparagus Salad up-thread I suggest you invest in a mandoline slicer. You can adjust the thickness of the slices, it's razor-sharp, and has a safety-minded food-grabber device that holds the food you're slicing to keep your fingertips safe. You can also slice multiple asparagus spears using the holder and will have a blizzard of ribbons in no time flat!

Oxo makes a hand-held model that's about $15.00 and makes the makers of $200.00 mandolines all hot and bothered.
posted by citygirl at 12:39 PM on March 28, 2013

I'm favoriting all the simplest versions. Asparagus in spring needs to be about the basics. Another good Easter classic is lightly steamed asparagus with melted butter and chopped hard-boiled eggs on top. My very spoilt daughter prefers Mousseline to Hollandaise sauce, and maybe she is right, but I'd find that a little complicated to prepare away from home.
posted by mumimor at 12:48 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Blanch in salted water, shock in ice water, sprinkle with good flaky salt and spritz with lemon juice just before serving. So simple and good, and everyone will go crazy for it if it's the only veg on a buffet full of meat.
posted by hungrybruno at 12:51 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know you said no roasting but it really brings out the best in asparagus. It tastes so much better than boiled or poached! A deli in my town makes roasted asparagus, served cold tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. It is delicious and so Spring-y. You could roast the asparagus in advance then bring vinaigrette and/or aioli for people to dip their own.
posted by apricot at 12:55 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

I bought a bunch of asparagus the other day and have been making some great, springy salads with it, and a salad is always a nice counterpoint to meat. A good romaine or butter lettuce, some blanched asparagus, maybe peas and/or radishes, shaved parmigiano reggiano, medium-boiled eggs (for Easter), chopped dried apricots, and some croutons tossed with a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette -- mmm.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 1:15 PM on March 28, 2013

Snap the lower ends off the asparagus. (Snap them wherever they naturally break when bent: the idea is to get rid of the tough fibrous bit next to the exposed cut.)

Stand the stalks upright and tie them together with string. Put them in a tall pot with a few inches of water at the bottom. This way the delicate tops will steam while the tougher lower stalks boil a bit. As soon as they turn an appetizing color, taste one and run cold water over the others.

Season with lemon, salt, pepper, and butter or olive oil or mayonnaise. Voila! Spring.
posted by feral_goldfish at 1:18 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's a lovely salad.

Steam the asperagus.

Make a vinegrette. Chop sweet tomoatoes into wee little dice, and sprinkle over the asperagus. Dress with vinegrette and some finely chopped hard boiled eggs. Tastes best at room temperature.

Quick, light, easy delish.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

1) Trim the stalks. Always.

2) Toss in a mix of olive oil, basalmic vinegar (the cheap stuff), a sprinkling of kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.

3) Fire up the BBQ, and grill on high for a few minutes - enough to gently char the tips, not enough to incinerate anything.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:32 PM on March 28, 2013

A classic presentation is to simply blanch the stalks in salted water and serve them with a sauce gribiche spooned over.
posted by trip and a half at 2:26 PM on March 28, 2013

Bunch of interesting (and tasty-sounding) answers here. As of now, I'm leaning toward small_ruminant's idea and trying out a couple of these different recipes and serving them on the side.

As for why not roasting --- we actually do that quite a bit in my family, and I like it a lot, but I wanted to try something a little different this time and try and preserve a little freshness and snap, since everything else will be so heavy.

I really should try that SK recipe sooonish, though. Will have to amazon up a mandolin first though.

If anybody else has any suggestions for sauces, keep 'em coming. I'm a pretty decent cook so I don't mind whisking together an emulsion or two.
posted by Diablevert at 2:57 PM on March 28, 2013

Here's a pasta recipe I've made so many times I'm sick to death of it. Good hot or pasta-salad cold.

Farfalle with Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas, Lemon, and Parmesan
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed off and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.
1/5 pound sugar snap peas, ends pinched off
1 pound farfalle
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
2. Add the asparagus pieces and boil for 2 minutes.
3. Add the sugar snap peas and boil for another 2 minutes.
4. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.
5. Bring the pot of water back to a boil, then add the pasta. Boil for 10-12 minutes.
6. Strain the pasta, then combine with asparagus, snap peas, lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Toss well. Finish with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
posted by whitneyarner at 6:17 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

if you want a surprising striking looking emulsion sauce - do a Maltaise - its Hollandaise w/ Blood Orange rather than lemon.
posted by JPD at 6:52 PM on March 28, 2013

Shaved asparagus salad with mint is so freaking good, and manages to use the asparagus raw. Light, bright and tastes like early spring.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:07 PM on March 28, 2013

I've made a variant of this recipe minus the prosciutto. It was very tasty (how could you go wrong with cacao nibs though?).
posted by eviemath at 9:00 PM on March 28, 2013

Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Goat Cheese
serves 6
8 ounces uncooked spelt or farro
3 cups water
8 ounces uncooked pearl couscous, or Trader Joe's Harvest Grain Blend
1 3/4 cups water
1 pound asparagus
Olive oil
1 cup sliced toasted almonds
4 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled and crumbled
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
Salt and pepper
Cook the spelt or farro in a large saucepan or sauté pan over medium heat, adding one cup of water at a time and stirring until absorbed before adding more. Keep cooking and stirring until the grain is al dente and dry with no water remaining to be absorbed.
Meanwhile, simmer 1 3/4 cups water in a small saucepan. Add the Harvest Grains blend, stir, cover and turn to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then remove the lid and cook, stirring, until any remaining moistness evaporates. Mix the two cooked grains in a large bowl and set aside.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and cut each spear into a 2-inch piece. Rinse out the large sauté pan and dry. Heat a little olive oil over medium heat, and cook the asparagus until just barely crisp-tender - about 1-2 minutes. Add to the grains and toss.
Also toss in the sliced toasted almonds, goat cheese and lemon zest.
Mix the Meyer lemon juice with the oils, taste, and adjust. Pour over grain salad and toss, along with salt and pepper to taste.
This salad lasts very well in the fridge; the herbal flavors of the Meyer lemons bloom nicely when it sits.
posted by JABof72 at 10:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

My parents cut them into 3cm segments and stir fry with scampi. Oil, ginger, salt, scallion; a squeeze of lemon to finish.
posted by batter_my_heart at 11:02 PM on March 28, 2013

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