Thursday, May 13, 2010

Slow - and Yummy - Asparagus

I never cared for asparagus growing up. The few times my mom prepared them, they were undercooked and bitter-tasting. As an adult, I tried a few overcooked versions and actually liked the vegetables a lot more, until I gradually learned to cook them myself and settled somewhere inbetween.

I got one of my favorite asparagus recipes from my father-in-law, who served them cold with this delicious, bright, creamy dill sauce. A friend offered a much simpler method - roasting with a little bit of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper - and one Christmas Eve I served asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with olive oil.

Now, I have a new favorite asparagus recipe.

I was checking out the New York Times Dining & Wine section online not long ago, when I stumbled on this great article describing another way of cooking asparagus - slow-cooked in paper packets.

I wish I could say I put my own spin on Melissa Clark's recipe, but aside from a couple cloves of crushed garlic and a few dashes of truffle salt to finish the dish, I followed her suggestions exactly and dinner that night was perfection. I couldn't wait for Sunday, when I could go back to the Farmer's Market for more asparagus.

Give the NY Times' slow-cooked asparagus a go, or try my father-in-law's cold asparagus with dill sauce.

Brian's Cold Asparagus with Dill Sauce

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Steam asparagus until tender, then shock in ice water. Drain and let chill in refrigerator.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Once asparagus has chilled, drizzle with sauce and serve cold.

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