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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Cooking - The Seasoned Chef

Beautiful vegetable that stands alone
Rating: 2.9 / 5 (216 votes)  
Posted: 2008 Apr 25 - 02:55

Asparagus is a universally popular vegetable that comes from the lily family.

May is the peak season for this wonderful vegetable.

The earliest and most tender stalks are a beautiful apple green with purple-tinged tips that are so delicious, they deserve to be the star of a dish or even a course on their own.

Honey-baked asparagus with tomato emulsion

Makes 4 servings

1 bunch of asparagus, thick spears

1/2 cup honey

3 tablespoons Italian bread- crumbs

Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato emulsion

1 ripe red tomato

1 1/2 tablespoons red onion, chopped

2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon capers

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup canola oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, cook the asparagus for 2 minutes and then remove the stalks into a bowl of ice water. This method of cooking is called blanching, which will keep the asparagus from over cooking and help to keep that bright-green color.

After 3 minutes, remove the asparagus from the ice water and dry. Season with salt and pepper. Put 1/2 cup of honey on a plate, dredge the spears in it and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake for 8 to 10 minutes (until the breadcrumbs are golden brown).

While the asparagus is baking we will make the tomato emulsion.

First, cut the tomato into large chunks, put them into a blender, add the red onion, vinegar, capers and honey and puree for 30 seconds. Then slowly add the canola oil and finish with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve this dish, pool the tomato emulsion evenly in the middle of four plates and distribute the baked asparagus on top.

Tips and Techniques

. Asparagus is grown in sandy soil, so thorough washing is necessary to ensure the tips are not gritty.

. Asparagus is best when cooked the same day it's purchased, but will keep for three to four days wrapped tightly in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

. When buying asparagus, choose firm, bright-green stalks with tight tips.

Contact Chris Kennedy at Seasoned Catering at (561) 351-0221, or e-mail chris@seasonedcatering.com.





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