Friday, February 25, 2011

Ad Hoc: Asparagus Coins

Asparagus is one of those vegetables that I didn't encounter until I was an adult (to the extent you consider 'being in college' being an adult).  I don't know if it was because growing up we were too poor to afford the $15 you'd need to spend to have enough asparagus for a family of six, or if it was just because it's a lot more common now.

The first time my roomate made asparagus, I was like 'wtf are those... branches... that you are asking me to eat?!'  But, somewhere along the way, I learned that I love it.  I'm pretty sure it is now my favorite vegetable.  Mostly because its so easy and versitile - just blanch, toss a little lemon, oil, salt and pepper, or throw on the grill for a few minutes, or quickly sautee it - lots of ways to cook, they are all tasty.

So, where was I going this?  Oh, yeah, asparagus coins!

When I first read the recipe, I was perplexed.  Parsley water?  Honey?  This was all as foreign as the idea of asparagus when I first tried it.  But you know what?  Much like asparagus itself, the first bite was a little foreign, but it grew on me.

So, lets get down to business:

First, parsley water: heat some oil, melt some honey (still perplexed), and wilt some parsley.  Or in my case, italian parsley, which I think makes a more attractive substitute.

See the sad, sad resulting parsley water?  Its because the recipe said to use a Vitamix, but I only had my sad, broken blender.  Fortunately my birthday isn't too far out... hint hint to my loyal reader - yeah, there is only one :)

Next, cut the asparagus ends off.  Then run small bundles over a mandoline.  Ad Hoc suggested using a rubber band to bind the asparagus together before running it over the top of the mandoline.  I didn't have any, so I just held small bundles very carefully.  Once I got halfway through the first bundle, I was terrified that I was going to lose a finger (Aside: this stems from the amazon reviews of my mandoline where person after person recounted horror stories of rushing people to the emergency room because they had severed tendons.  I was like 'DUDE, USE THE SAFETY THING AND YOU'LL BE FINE'... but, here I was, with no safety so I was convinced my thumb was a goner).  Luckily, I still have all fingers intact, plus I had pretty little coins!

Cooking it was a cinch.  I tossed in some (questionable) chive oil that I had left from a dinner, sauteed the asparagus tips for a minute or two

tossed the rounds in and sauteed for a minute or two

then put some parsley water in.  In another minute or two, all done!

Taste-wise, it was interesting.  Usually "interesting" is code for "you screwed it up but are trying to be polite"... but here, it really means interesting.  The sweetness of the honey really came through.  I can't remember ever eating sweet-tasting asparagus, so I was a little thrown.  It tasted good though.  And, even with threatening a limb, it was really quick.

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