Asparagus

 

Asparagus.  It’s that time of year again when the hearty perennial is fresh, readily available and on almost every menu.  I love asparagus – even as a kid I liked it. 

Over the years I’ve seen it prepared in many ways, and have been instructed to cook it in several preparations (trimmed, peeled, and blanched in heavily salted water; grilled; seared on a flat top grill; butter poached; etc.).  In my experience asparagus cooks up best with simple attention.  I like to trim woody bottoms, rinse, and either cook over high heat in a sauté pan with minimal fat, or grill over high heat until crisp-tender.

Here’s a quick and easy preparation served with seared hangar steak:

 

Asparagus Ragout

 

Preparation Time:  20 min

Cooking Time:  8 minutes

Yield:  4 Servings

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ white onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon anchovy paste

2 bunches asparagus

½ lemon, zested and juiced

2  Roma tomatoes, de-seeded, julienned

¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon salt

 Freshly ground pepper

1 Tablespoon Butter

 

Heat oil over high heat in a large skillet.  Stir in onions and anchovy paste.  Cook, stirring frequently, until onions just begin to turn brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. 

Stir in asparagus and lemon zest.  Cook, stirring frequently, until asparagus just begins to soften, about 2 minutes. 

Stir in tomatoes, olives, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes just begin to break down and asparagus is tender crisp, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat, stir in butter until butter is just melted and coats vegetables.  Serve immediately.

 

Mark Graham

New Food Studio, 3914 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL, 60613, United States