We've been enjoying first-of-spring Salinas Valley asparagus for a couple weeks now. On Monday my parents' neighbor brought us a big bag cut that morning from their ranch. So sweet and dewy, refreshed by Sunday's rainfall.
Image of Jensen's asparagus:
I made an asparagus salad from a recipe my cousin Lauren gave me. She got it from Cecilia Chiang, the founder of The Mandarin in San Francisco. We only make it with the best spring asparagus, but if you find yourself with older spears later in the year (i.e., after Memorial Day), then be sure to trim the stalks liberally and peel them.
Lauren's asparagus salad:
Put a quart of water on to boil and a colander in the sink. Then prep the dressing:
2 T light superior soy sauce
2 T sesame oil (I like Kadoya
)1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 t sugar (double if your asparagus is not as fresh)
Mix the above until the sugar dissolves.
Cut one pound of trimmed asparagus along the diagonal into 1/2" slices at a sharp angle. Dump the asparagus in the boiling water and count 60 seconds. I stand over the pot watching the clock to not mistime this critical step. If your asparagus is older or if you prefer it softer, you might need to cook it 30 seconds longer. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Toss in a bowl with the dressing and serve at room temperature.
What are your favorite asparagus recipes? Here's a link to one I posted long ago.
Asparagus galette recipe:
Jaques Pepin, on Fast Food My Way (and in the book) does a sauteed asparagus dish with chorizo, croutons and (I think) almonds (its possible I invented the almonds part and added it myself, but its very tasty). No blanching required for good, seasonal asparagus, just peel the ends if they're thick. Starts with the chorizo to render some of the fat, then the asparagus and then the croutons and almonds, lots of pepper and viola.
I also love to make an asparagus flan/custard for a change of pace.