….is….. the recommendation of this most excellent book:
THE FLAVOR THESAURUS – A Compendium of Pairings, Recipes and Ideas for the Creative Cook by: Niki Segnit
Now here’s a book about food that needs no illustrations or fancy photographs: the text is so captivating on its own. Niki Segnit does more than just make flavor connections; she presents mesmerising descriptions mixed with delightful cultural references and mind-bending inspiration, while lacing it all with a pungent wit. Genius. I’m jealous of her brain. I should go on the Niki Segnit diet and just read her book whenever I feel like eating. It would be satisfaction enough.
But before I do, I think I’ll have some asparagus.
THINGS TO DO WITH ASPARAGUS
1) The stalk bottoms: I can’t bear to throw them out, so after snapping them off, I put them in a plastic bag and freeze them. Eventually these parcels will start to pile up, and then it’s time to make them into Asparagus Broth. Simply add them to a pot of boiling water, cover, return to a boil, and then simmer for perhaps an hour. Mash the stalks in the pot with a potato masher to help enrich the broth. Drain the liquid, and if you’re up to it, mash the remains against a colander, extracting every last bit of asparagus essence before discarding the residue. Combine the two liquids. The resulting broth can go into the freezer if you don’t have an immediate use for it. It’s good in asparagus soup, obviously, and also pea, bean and broccoli. Its greenness is a drawback in a carrot soup or the like, while its natural sweetness might not be desirable in other ‘soup-lications’.
2) Dress your just-cooked asparagus spears With Avocado Oil which is now available at Loblaw’s (their own brand, “President’s Choice”) at not too bad a price.
3) RECIPE: Asparagus Mimosa
1 or 2 eggs, hard-boiled
1 bunch of asparagus
salt & pepper, oil & lemon
Here’s a reliable method for hard-boiling eggs:
Place eggs in a pan of cold water; they should be submerged. Bring to a boil on medium heat; immediately remove from burner and let sit, covered, for 13 minutes, give or take a few. Put eggs in cold water for 5 minutes. If not using right away, refrigerate.
Cook trimmed asparagus by your favorite method. I like to steam-sauté in a covered skillet, lightly oiled, on medium heat. When the spears are sizzling, add just a little water, maybe 1 or 2 tbsps. at most, and cover. Lower heat. 10 min. should do it.
Peel and halve the eggs. Remove the yolks. Chop the whites.
Place asparagus spears on a plate. Throw on some salt & pepper, and oil & lemon.
Top them w/ the whites. Press the yolks through a sieve onto the whites. Voila. Serves 2 or 3.
A SWEET TRICK
In my universe, when friends come for dinner, dessert is de rigeur.
This was my first try at Pavlova, which consists of a baked meringue, whipped cream, and fruit, in this case, raspberry. Not complicated. However, to make a Raspberry Coulis requires pressing fresh and/or frozen raspberries against a sieve, thus separating the pulp from the seeds, and the tedium of it just seems to go on forever. I have found that a very similar result can be had by bringing to room temperature one pint of good quality raspberry gelato. It is then whisked into a sauce which will be equal to the task of dressing a Pavlova, a cheesecake, peach melba, yogurt, pooling under kiwi, coffee ice cream……….
Happy Mother’s Day.