We will have asparagus for several more weeks, and you may be looking for some ideas to vary the preparation. Here are two we think are pretty good. They are both from Food52.com.
Couscous with Asparagus, Chervil + White Wine
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Author Notes: This couscous recipe is a poor man’s risotto — an apt, if even paradoxical descriptor — that focuses on the cozy side of green, spring flavor. Israeli (or “pearl”) couscous is a lentil-sized pasta with an equally diminutive cooking time, so it cooks quickly in the reducing stock. Finished with salty cheese and the delicate licorice-flavored chervil, this recipe brings a bowl of yielding, soft flavors and textures of spring. (less) – CarolineWright
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cup Israeli or pearl couscous
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 12 ounces asparagus (3/4 bunch), trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, toasted if desired
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped chervil leaves
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add couscous and cook until partially toasted, 2 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 2 minutes. Meanwhile, heat broth in a second saucepan until warm.
- Add 1 cup broth to couscous and quickly simmer over medium-high heat until the couscous is silky and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, adding a cup at a time and cooking until each addition has nearly evaporated. Before the last addition, add asparagus to remaining hot broth (about 1 1/2 cups). (Stir asparagus into couscous with last cup of broth.)
- Once couscous is tender and all the broth has been added, stir in Pecorino, pistachios, chervil and remaining butter. Sprinkle servings with additional Pecorino, pistachios and chervil, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Serves 4
Absurdly Addictive Asparagus
Click on the picture to visit the website (there’s a nice slide show there).
Author Notes: I guess there’s a reason Vosges Haut-chocolat Bacon and Chocolate bars are growing in popularity…it just seems that when you add bacon to almost anything, the salty smokiness heightens the other ingredients. Bacon may rule, but its Italian cousin, Pancetta, is also a contender for the crown. Take a garden fresh ingredient like asparagus and pair it with pancetta and you instantly get Snap, Crackle, Crisp all in one bite. There’s something about the bite-size pieces of tender crisp asparagus, buttery leeks, crackly pancetta, and delicately crunchy pinenuts that make it somehow hard for me to stop eating this easy to prepare dish. I tried adding Parmigiano Reggiano at the end, but it overpowered the citrus. After testing the delectable sugar cookie finalist recipes with MonkeyMom tonight, I have to wonder if the number 52 will be even more symbolic when it represents the number of pounds we’ve gained by the end of the year. Apparently, Asparagus isn’t the only thing I’m addicted to— Food52 is rapidly becoming a habit, too. – kaykay
Food52 Review: The title pretty much says it all. With her recipe, kaykay takes an already promising set of ingredients and artfully combines them in such a way that the resulting dish exceeds the sum of its parts. 2-inch lengths of asparagus, crisp-tender to the bite, take center stage in a savory tangle of leeks, pancetta, garlic, orange zest, parsley and pine nuts. The rendered fat from the pancetta, along with a knob of butter, is just enough to keep the vegetables from being dry without smothering the fresh flavors. The recipe is supposed to serve 4, but we could easily imagine polishing off an entire pan by ourselves. – A&M
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
- 1 1/4 cup leek, thinly sliced crosswise (white and pale green parts only)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1-2 tablespoon Italian parsley, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large non-stick pan, sauté pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and leek and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add garlic, lemon and orange zest, toasted pine nuts and parsley and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.
- Serves 4
–posted by Steven