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Asparagus, At Last!

April 30, 2012 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Asparagus, At Last!

Asparagus is really the ultimate spring vegetable, and this is a dish I mentioned on our talk last week. Now that it’s stopped snowing and warm weather has returned, this warm salady plate seems just right with its scarlet onions, slivers of orange zest, herbs, and a quartered hard-cooked egg.  It doesn’t have to be just like this —leave the egg out if you wish, or the onions, but try to keep the sauce of parsley, tarragon if you have it, capers, and olive oil. It’s actually quite easy to put this entire dish together and in doing so, don’t feel you have to adhere to the measurements. Decide for yourself what seems like enough parsley, or enough sauce, for that matter.

Since the pickled onion takes only a minute or two to make, you can start with it and they will have colored up by the time you're ready for them. Serve warm, at room temperature or slightly chilled. And keep in mind that the sauce is also very good over grilled, roasted, or griddled asparagus

Asparagus with Salsa Verde, Pickled Onions and Quartered Egg   

Ingredients
1 small red onion, whole, peeled, and sliced into thin rounds
vinegar, a light colored one, a few tablespoons
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound asparagus
chopped parsley, about 3 tablespoons
chopped tarragon, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon capers
1 wide band of orange zest, cut into fine slivers and blanched for 10 seconds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 scant tablespoon vinegar (can be the same you used for the onions)
1 hard-cooked egg, quartered (optional)

Preparation
Separate the sliced onion rings and toss them in a few tablespoons vinegar with a pinch of salt. Set them aside in the refrigerator.

Trim thin asparagus by snapping off the woody, tough ends. If the asparagus is thick, slice off the butt end where it changes color and appears to be tougher. Peel the thick asparagus, but not the thin. Simmer in a skillet of salted water until it is bright green but still a little firm, about 3 minutes for thin asparagus, 5 minutes for fat. Set the cooked asparagus on a towel to dry while you make the sauce. It will finish cooking as it does so.

Put the parsley, tarragon and capers in a bowl. Finely dice half the slivered orange zest and add it to the herbs. Stir in the oil and vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the sauce over the asparagus then use your hands to turn the spears, to coat them on all sides. Garnish with the remaining slivers of orange peel and scatter the pickled onion rings over all. Tuck the egg quarters among the spears and onions and serve.

Serves 2 generously

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