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Jun 1, 2014 12:09 PM

Asparagus with sauce

This was one of the dishes suggested on the June DOTM voting thread, but wasn't chosen.

I'm certainly not looking to detract from the chosen DOTM thread, but there was definitely enough expressed interest, especially by (I think) those of us in the Midwest and East who don't have the luxury of year-round local produce, something I envy of the West Coasters. I understand that many who have had local asparagus for several months are tired of it - but it's just coming into season here in New England!

So - my usual way of making asparagus is steaming or roasting after tossing it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. On occasion, I've done a pistachio gremolata (which was very good!) But I know that there are lots of other ways to top asparagus, and creating a sauce, like hollandaise or bearnaise, is one.

Tonight, I'm going to try this as a side dish with roasted chicken:

I don't have oranges, but I do have some orange juice that I'll reduce, and I have some dried orange zest that should work.

So - what's your favorite way to sauce asparagus? OR do you make an "asparagus sauce" which, I would think, could be used as a pasta toss?

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  1. I rarely ever put sauce on my asparagus. Sometimes I top it with hollandaise foam, it's pretty tasty and guests always go nuts over it because most of them are too intimidated to make hollandaise. I do it sous vide then toss it in an iSi, it's foolproof, a 5 year old could do it.

    Recently I topped asparagus with a black garlic, butter, shallot, and walnut (thought I had pistachios, but I didn't so I used walnuts) mixture, also really good.

    I generally just throw my asparagus under the broiler for a bit, or put it on the grill, or sometimes just hit it with a torch. I mostly use avocado oil on it because of its high smoke point.

    6 Replies
    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

      Very curious about your sous vide hollandaise? How and what?

      1. re: OCEllen

        I use this recipe:

        However, I find that keeping my water bath at 67.5C the entire time works better than their temperatures. They note at the bottom that hollandaise holds best at 65-70C so I just keep it at 67.5C the entire time, I've found that it works better that way. I also hit it with an immersion blender before I pour it into my siphon.
        I really like keeping it in a siphon because it stays good for a long time like that with no degradation and is easy to serve lots of people even with limited space otherwise.
        I also hear that you can make hollandaise, put it in the siphon, and cool it down and put it in the fridge for 1-2 days and then just heat it back up in a bath and it will be nearly identical to freshly made hollandaise.
        Also, if you discharge all the n02 out of the siphon, after the contents are cool, you end up with a hollandaise "butter," it's quite tasty on toast the day after it's made.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Aerosol canister for whipping cream & the like

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Just a whipping siphon. It's probably the best brand though (at least their professional models, I can't comment on the regular ones), their valve design really leaves nothing to be desired, plus there are all kinds of cool accessories for it.

        2. My favorite way to eat asparagus is very simple, just some butter, S&P, and a generous grating of Parmesan cheese. Leftovers are great stirred into scrambled eggs.

          1. I love that you started this thread. I was really hoping for this dish to win. I waited all winter for asparagus and now can't get enough.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I can't get enough either. I bought two large bunches at my local market today, fieldhawk. It's not *quite* MA local asparagus yet, but it's getting there - at least it's not imported from Peru!

              1. re: LindaWhit

                So true! The stores still have Peru or Mexico but the Farmers' Market now has tons of normal-sized (read: not club sized) spears. It's still a hefty price but I'm OK with that now that I've resolved to only eat it in season.

            2. Don't usually sauce asparagus unless I blanch and chill it and then add to some greens, typically dressed with a lemon vinaigrette -- which is what I think I may do tonight.

              Tonight's asparagus is the remains of 2 lbs bought at the farmers' market on Thursday. The first half was consumed steamed, plain for me, a bit of butter on DH's.

              (And, yes, for those of us in 4 season climates who are only now getting local asparagus, it is such a treat, even though we've been eating the Mexican and Californian for months.)

              1. Just curious, but what does everyone pay for asparagus?
                In Seattle it starts at around $6/lb in the early season but is like $4/lb now at least at a local co-op and farmers markets. I think you can probably get it at Safeway around here on sale for like $2/lb but I don't know for sure since I don't shop there.

                17 Replies
                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                  I just paid $2.99/lb here in Massachusetts, but I've seen it as high as $4.99/lb, depending on where it's coming from and what season it is. No idea what it'll be when it finally is local.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    $2.99/12 oz. in our local TJ's (organic, local) here in NOB Eastern MA.

                    Our Farmers' Market doesn't start till 12 June.

                    1. re: Gio

                      Ahhh - thanks, Gio! Didn't realize that TJs was local asparagus yet!

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Well, to be clear, I don't remember if the farm or location were named.

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      I paid $5 a pound for local asparagus at a Boston area farmers market this weekend. Second week I've seen it, but I believe some farms were harvesting a bit earlier.

                      It's a very short local season. Since I know I won't be paying that forever, I do buy it, because I love it so much and it is such a fleeting pleasure. The difference between local and shipped in asparagus is to my palate astounding. (and I love all asparagus).

                      1. re: Madrid

                        Argh. I'm a bit north of the city, and there are no farmers markets open yet up by me.

                        Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, Andover, BIllerica, Haverhill, Wakefield (which I would only get to if I was down that way getting my hair cut) - and none are open until late June or early July. And Farmer Dave's farm stand on East St. in Tewksbury doesn't open until mid-June either.

                        So unless I get into SOWA one Sunday, I doubt I'll have local-local-local asparagus.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Wilson Farm is selling their own for $5.99/lb. That's probably too far for you, though. Unless you like to drive...

                          1. re: Gio

                            I love to drive. But it would have to be a multi-destination trip....such as if I wanted to go to Penzeys down the road in Arlington. :-)

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              or the Armenian stores in Watertown, and stop by Sofra...

                    3. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                      safeway's been about $2.80-$3...sometimes you can find it for $2 at the asian markets in seattle~

                      1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                        Our farmers market is selling local asparagus in "bunches" that are about 2/3 to 3/4 of a pound apiece. One bunch for $2, or 3 bunches for $5. I've been buying 3 at a time, which I figure comes to $2.50/ lb. I am in Chicago.

                        1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                          Local: $5/lb in the beginning of the season at the Farmers' Market. $3-4/lb mid season

                          Imported: $2-3/lb at the grocery store.

                          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                            Local, organic is about $8/lb at the farmers' markets, in Vancouver. Imported, conventional is about $4/lb. So you can imagine what my DH is buying (haha).

                            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                              Farmers market $6/ lb in nyc, imported at the grocery store $4.99/lb, sometimes goes on sale to $3.99/lb.
                              Organic is another $2/lb

                              1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                                Mpls/St Paul area: Conventional, at the supermarket, $2.99 lb, farmers market $5.00 lb. But I gladly make the trek to the Mpls farmers market (I much prefer the St.Paul market in general) to buy from a fellow who sells only asparagus, now through June, for $6.00 lb. in 3 or 4 lb. paper bags. It is the best asparagus I've ever tasted and well worth both the drive and the money.

                                1. re: Pwmfan

                                  Thanks for this info Pwmfan - I may have to trek into the city to compete for some of that Mpls farmers asparagus.

                                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                    I'm sure you won't be disappointed! I'm just finishing up last week's haul and it is still crisp and tender. My brother made a salad last night with his leftovers and said the same thing. I think the name on the truck is Quality Produce (not totally sure) but I remember for sure that it saidCold Spring as well. Heis the only vendor who sells in brown paper handle bags instead of bundles.