May 16 2013

Hooray for May

For those of you who have been patiently waiting…. it’s here! May – the time when local strawberries and asparagus are fresh and plentiful. Farmers markets across the region are back in swing. The season for these fresh, local beauties is short so grab them up when you see them. Here are some ways to use your bounty:

Asparagus Three Ways
Preparing a versatile vegetable multiple ways—in this case, grilled, blanched and thinly shaved asparagus—makes a beautiful first course presentation. If it’s too time-consuming to make all three, simply eliminate one.

do ahead Ingredients can be prepared up to six hours ahead and stored
in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 ounces Parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
1⁄2 cup lemon juice
2 pounds asparagus
11⁄2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 Gently bend each asparagus spear a few inches from the bottom of the stalk until the end snaps off. Then, using a peeler, gently strip the ends to remove the tough outer layer. Divide asparagus into three equal portions.
2 Shave a third of the asparagus: Hold the tip pointing toward you and use a peeler to strip away thin lengths from each spear, avoiding the tip and working until most of the spear has been shaved. Continue with remaining spears and reserve tips for blanching. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set shavings
in the water.
3 Blanch the second third of the asparagus: Prepare a bowl of ice water. Fill a pot wide enough to accommodate asparagus with salted water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus plus reserved tips and cook for 2 minutes. It should be firm, but not raw. Transfer to a strainer and immediately run asparagus
under cold water. When cooled, drain and cut into thirds. Set aside.
4 Grill the remaining asparagus: Heat a grill pan or backyard grill. Combinegarlic and olive oil. Dip and coat asparagus in the mixture. Reserve mixture and transfer coated asparagus to grill. Grill until charred, turning to cook all sides, about 5 minutes. Cut into thirds and set aside.
5 Scrape remaining garlic into a medium bowl. Whisk in honey,mustard,lemon juicelemon zestsalt and pepper. Add olive oil and whisk to combine; then add heavy cream and whisk to combine.
6 Drain shaved asparagus well, then blot with a paper towel. Toss shaved asparagus with 1⁄3 cup of dressing until well coated.
7 Mound shaved asparagus in the center of each plate. Arrange blanched and grilled asparagus on top, with tips pointing in. Drizzle each plate with dressing. Finish with Parmesan and more salt and pepper to taste.

serves 6