Without asparagus and strawberries, there would be no spring in my book.
Sure, cheeses are good, yet spring headliners are asparagus and strawberries!
The month of April brings a flush of color to many gardens around the world. Despite Mother Nature’s mood this month, my garden is filled with blooms of the mighty daffodils, grape hyacinths, bluebells, primroses, tulips, dogwood, spireas, hellebore, laurels, spurge, willow, bleeding heart, blueberries, barberries, and rhododendrons. Yet while this show explodes in the home garden, my kitchen is another story—it is abundant with asparagus and strawberries!
Last week I created food for a buffet party of thirty-five. As the beef tenderloins dry-cured in the fridge, the hunt was on for perfect asparagus and strawberries. The food gods were with me, as I brought home eleven pounds of pencil-thin asparagus and a case of organic strawberries. The berries were the size of a Fiat so I planned to serve them with obscene amounts of organic whipped cream.
The asparagus were just the size I prefer and rather than do the blanching/ice bath technique, I decided to roast them instead. My recipe follows:
First determine the break point with one spear, then using the stack and cut method, process all stems.
Step two: Rinse all spears, catching the water in a basin for the garden.
Next, place spears on a large kitchen towel and blot with another removing as much water as possible.
In batches, toss dried spears with virgin olive oil.
Place oiled spears on a sheet pan, one layer thick. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
Roast asparagus spears for three minutes at 500F. Then open oven carefully, shake pan to roll spears, then roast another two minutes.
Cooling delectable edibles. For pleasant visual appeal, alternate layers. When completely cooled, cover with cling film and refrigerate. One hour before consuming, bring to room temperature. Squeeze half a fresh lemon over is nice per platter.
The orgasmic fruit ~ the strawberry. Always choose organic.
Leave strawberries unwashed in refrigerator until three hours before eating. Then carefully remove the stem, leave small berries whole, while slicing larger berries into thirds or quarters. Rinse as asparagus, placing on towel and blotting. Store washed berries in refrigerator, covered with a damp paper towel, until one hour before serving. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup of granulated sugar over all (this amount for eight pounds of berries). Gently toss with hands and leave at room temperature. Serve with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream that is sweetened with a 1/2 cup of sugar (this amount added to four cups of heavy cream).
Giant bowl of these sensuous berries and cream compliment tender madelines and rich, lush brownies cut in one-inch pieces. The guests went wild…
Surely the beef and chicken, local country ham with cream biscuits, cheese boards, artichoke dips, sweet & spicy pecans, and generous full bar filled everyone to a happy place, yet the asparagus and strawberries left them wanting more.
Ah, what a beautiful life.
This is a great time of year to support your local farmer’s markets, grow your own, and generally celebrate another fine season of food. Bon Appetit!
Copyright © 2013 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved