Ontario Asparagus has made an appearance in supermarkets and outdoor markets in the past week. This is one of those vegetables that is so delicate and delicious that I like to keep the preparation as simple as possible and just enjoy the flavour of the asparagus. Nigel Slater in his book The Kitchen Diaries says "I don't mess around with asparagus". He boils it is salted water until it bends and then dips the spears into softened (not melted) butter. I like to roast asparagus. It is quick and easy to make and the flavour is quite intense. I usually just place the spears on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes, a little less if you have the skinny spears. Once out of the oven you can sprinkle it with a little sea salt or a little parmesan cheese and that's it. This recipe from Jamie Kennedy's book Seasons is a bit more elegant and you can serve it as part of a buffet or as an appetizer.Asparagus with Classic Vinaigrette
For the Vinaigrette:
Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature so that it will emulsify
2 egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
5 tsp sunflower oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the Garnish:
1 hard boiled egg
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 tbsp roasted red peppers, finely chopped
3 tbsp Italian parsley leaves, chopped
For the Asparagus:
42 stalks of asparagus (He says to peel them, but I never do)
1. Mix together the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl. Slowly add the sunflower oil in a steady stream, while stirring. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Separate the yolk from the white of the hard boiled egg and chop each finely. Keep all the garnishes in separate bowls. Reserve.
3. Snap the woody bases of the asparagus. Steam or boil the asparagus until tender.
4. Pour a small pool of vinaigrette into the centre of each plate. Place a bundle of seven stalks of cooked asparagus on each pool of vinaigrette. Garnish each bundle with a row of parsley, egg white, roasted pepper, shallot and egg yolk.
Serve at room temperature. Serves six.