The Asparagus Chronicles

I loved the asparagus article in the April issue of Martha Stewart Everyday Food. I was excited to discover some new ways to make asparagus, so please join me for my personal asparagus festival, also known as the Festival of Spears.

I make asparagus a lot, and particularly when my father’s crop comes in, I get bored with it. There are a few ways I normally make it. The first is just cut up and boiled with butter and salt and pepper. My preferred method is to roast it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I coat it in panko and pan fry it.

asp-goat-cheeseFirst up is the asparagus with goat cheese. I cooked my whole asparagus stalks in a pan with a tiny bit of water. They cooked very quickly. I sliced the goat cheese into rounds and coated them with flour then panko and froze them and quickly browned them in a pan. I loved the goat cheese on this! The rounds looked gorgeous and brown and so very professional. This is a terrific way to dress up plain asparagus with not a lot of work and I will definitely be making it again. This one is truly fab.

Asparagus experiment number two is Spaghetti with Shaved Asparagus. I was intrigued by this- I had never thought of shaving asparagus. Martha saysshaved-asparagus1 to take a vegetable peeler and peel shavings off your asparagus. This was a totally weird thing to do and let me just say it is pretty wasteful. You do not use the tops (and as my mother, Big MarthaAndMe will tell you, the tops are the best part, since she and her brother used to fight over them) and you end up wasting a good portion of the spear itself.

You boil some spaghetti (I used whole wheat) and reserve some of the cooking water. Then you add the shaved asparagus and lemon shavings. Drain it and add butter, salt, shaved-asparagus2pepper, lemon juice and reserved water which comes together to make a very light sauce. You shave some parmesan over the top at the end.

This is interesting looking, but the thing is you do not taste the asparagus at all! It just tastes like a mouthful of pasta with something green in it. I was quite disappointed by that. First you waste so much of the asparagus, then you don’t even taste it? Bah! Skip this one – I wouldn’t make it again. Asparagus tally? One yes, one no.

Asapargus with Mustard Sauce

Asparagus with Mustard Sauce

Now for asparagus recipe number three, Asparagus with Creamy Mustard Sauce. This tells you to steam your asaparagus and chill it. Then you mix up a quick cold sauce with mayo, olive oil, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper. That’s it! Pour the sauce over your asparagus and go to town. I thought the mustard sauce had a nice flavor. This strikes me as a summer dish though. It would taste wonderful for a supper on a hot day. At this time of year it was not so terrific as a cold dish, although it had a nice flavor, it just was not palate pleasing to eat a cold vegetable.

Total tally: One definite, one maybe and one no.

11 Responses to The Asparagus Chronicles

  1. Michelle says:

    looks great! I think I would add the asparagus tops to the pasta dish anyway, they are the best part!

  2. marthaandme says:

    Yes – and maybe it would then taste like asparagus.

  3. We’ve been simply grilling asparagus tossed w/ a little EVOO and sea salt. Yum. And easy.

  4. marthaandme says:

    Love that! I’m such a klutz though I would be sure to drop it through the grill!

  5. Wow. I love your blog. I love asparagus any way I can get it! We steam it al dente and eat it sans any seasoning! My family, even my wee ones, just love the outdoorsy taste and the green color can’t be beat!

  6. marthaandme says:

    I know – there is just something about it that says spring, isn’t there?

  7. noble pig says:

    I love the shaved idea too, it’s too bad it wasn’t really noticable…the goat cheese rounds makes up for it.

  8. marthaandme says:

    Yes, that was really amazingly good

  9. teri says:

    I just heard you mentioned on the Sunday morning rebroadcast of Morning Living, cool! We love grilled asparagus and any other vegetable is amazing grilled as well. I’m a klutz like you and the grilling is easy with a grill wok or a vegetable grill pan. Bet you’ll love it!
    BTW, Do you dip the spears in egg before the panko when you pan fry?

  10. marthaandme says:

    Cool! I didn’t know they rebroadcasted. Thanks for letting me know. Yep, I dip the spears in an egg wash then in panko to which I’ve added salt and pepper. My kids love ’em that way (anything resembling a French fry is a guaranteed hit in this house!). I need to get a vegetable grill pan – another item to add to my long list of things I need to buy.

  11. Basia says:

    Just made the shaved asparagus dish. It never occurred to me to NOT use the heads! I just tossed them in a little before the end of pasta cooking so they’d have a bit more time to cook. You used WW spaghetti. A heavy ingredient like that will take over in such a light dish. If you were trying to make a “healthier” version, use one of the “lower carb” pastas. Also, rather than following the recipe as far as how much pasta to use, I made one 2oz portion of pasta (4 portions total, 8 oz uncooked) for each of us, combined with just over a pound of asparagus. It was heavenly! (Except for the incredibly fiddly peeling of the asparagus!! What a pain – but worth it!)

    And finally (sorry – long-winded) for a vegetable grill pan – do you have a stove-top griddle? I use mine to “grill” asparagus in particular. They come out great!

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