In Love with Asparagus

9 May 2012

I love asparagus don’t you? The season is almost over here in Finland although the asparagus comes from Italy, Spain and Hungary. When is asparagus in season for you? What is your favourite recipe? Which do you like best green or white?

My first contacts with asparagus where in secondary school when I would occasionally work at a garden. The gardener’s mother had a kitchen garden where I actually saw the first asparagus pushing out of the soil. Some years later I was gladly surprised to find asparagus in the garden of my American family. I was an exchange student in Mid-West for a year during my sixth form (high school).

I like green asparagus the best and mostly just cooked and served with melted butter. Other favourites are asparagus in cannelloni, asparagus in filo pie and risotto with asparagus.

My husband surprised me yesterday with grilled asparagus. Yes, on an ordinary Tuesday evening and, yes, he is also a food enthusiast or rather a gourmand. He likes the very best and has tried almost everything on his travels. I could quote him “There are only two types of tastes: sophisticated and unsophisticated.” He has got the sophisticated taste buds of course. He is definitely a food enthusiast but not as badly smitten as I am. A couple of years ago he forbade me to buy cookbooks and I started buying cooking magazines. Recently I have gotten additions to by ‘library’ thanks to friends and family and through own “sourcing”.

The recipe for grilled asparagus comes originally from the book Spirits & Liqueurs cookbook by Stuart Walton and Norma Miller (1997. Lorenz Books, London) and he’s adjusted it to his taste and Finland.

Grilled asparagus for two

1                           bundle of green asparagus
2 tbsp                 olive oil
some                  black pepper and salt
50 g                     grated Parmesan cheese

For the sauce
2.5 dl                  chicken stock
2 tbsp                 dry vermouth
25 g                     butter

  1. Clean the asparagus on place in a greased oven pan.
  2. Brush with oil and add some salt and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  4. Grill or bake in the oven until the asparagus is cooked and golden brown. We bake them in 175 C for about a half an hour in the mid rack in a regular oven.
  5. Make the sauce while the asparagus is in the oven.
  6. Heat the chicken stock and the vermouth and reduce it into half.
  7. Add the cold butter stirring the sauce all the time.
  8. Pour the sauce over the asparagus right before serving.

Serve with an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. The Villa Antinori white was not too bad either.

It’ll soon be time for nettle picking. Saw the first sprouts in the forest on Sunday morning. Perhaps we make it to the cottage this weekend for nettle picking. Perhaps the false morels (gyromitra esculenta) are also waiting for us. Nettles and morels make a delicious spring soup.



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