white asparagus

White asparagus with gray garnelas in mousseline sauce

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Food 2015 June 020Yesterday I felt like eating some seasonal vegetables so my choice fell to the asparagus. When I started to peel the asparagus suddenly I remembered when I ate an excellent asparagus dish with mousseline sauce in Belgium. I decided to make it and the result was frenetic.

But before I gave the recipe let me say few words of the mousseline sauce, which is named after the delicate texture of muslin. It is an egg-based French sauce made with cream. It is best served with equally delicate foods, such as asparagus and fish. Similar to hollandaise sauce, you can skip in the recipe the cream and you can use confit orange to add a citrus flavour to the dish.

Ingredients: 200 gr garnelas, 2 bunches of white asparagus, 1 onion, juice of one lemon, 2 egg yolks, 100 gr butter, 100 ml cream (optional), 100 ml dry white wine (Chardonnay Trivento), 1 tbsp of oil, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon of verveine, 1-2 tbsp citrus or orange confit, or Japanese plum from can

Methods: Cut butter into cubes and place in a bowl. Add the verveine and chill for 1 day. Heat them in a saucepan on medium heat, until melted. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid then allow the flavours to infuse overnight at room temperature.

To prepare asparagus, place on a board. Peel to remove skin. Test the ends of each spear by bending gently, and break at a length where it snaps easily.

Tie asparagus together so they don’t snap when blanching, and place upright in a tin to keep straight. Add to simmering water for 4 minutes, then refresh in iced water.

In a small saucepan, add 2 tbsp confit orange juice, ¼ chopped confit orange and 2 egg yolks then place over low heat. Using a hand blender, carefully blend the ingredients together then slowly add ½ cup of the infused butter to make a nice smooth mousseline sauce. Season with green Szechuan pepper and a pinch of salt.

Heat 1 tsp of butter in a frying pan over high heat. Sauté asparagus for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Season with a pinch of salt.

Prepare (pre-cooked) garnelas: melt butter, add garnelas and soaté them for 3 minutes. Salt and pepper and flavour with dill. Pour over white wine and finish cooking them.

Place asparagus on a plate, spoon over mousseline sauce and add garnelas. Garnish with dill, extra fresh vervaine. Eat with fresh bagette.

 

Fresh verveine is a bright lemongrass, basil and lemon-scented grass-type leaf.

 

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German asparagus soup

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Agnes 008In Germany May is the season for eating asparagus. I prepared a white asparagus soup on the other day from puréed asparagus and broth, with some cream added. The heads of the asparagus spears were held back until the last minutes of cooking.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. chopped onion (1 small), 2 tbsp butter, 1 1/2 -2 lb. white asparagus, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces, heads reserved, 6 c. broth, either chicken or vegetable, 1/2 c. half and half cream/sour cream, salt, to taste, fresh ground pepper, to taste, dry white wine, to taste, parsley for garnish, cheddar cheese, croutons, ham slices

Preparation:

Peel white asparagus before chopping it into small pieces.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft. Add the pieces of asparagus (minus the heads) and steam for 5 minutes. Add the broth and boil gently for about 30 minutes, or until the asparagus is very soft. Flavour with a pinch of sugar.

Purée the soup in batches in the blender or with a hand blender and return to pan.

Bring to a simmer and add the reserved asparagus heads and some cheddar cheese. Cook at least for 5 more minutes, or until they are fork-tender. Turn down the heat and add sour cream. Do not boil further.

Taste and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. You can add a few spoonfuls of white wine, or juice of a lemon (2 tbsp) if you think the soup needs acidity. Top with croutons and sliced ham. Garnish with parsley or spring onion rings.