I know, I know, if I truly practiced what I preached, I would never offer a recipe for asparagus salad in September. OK, enjoy reading this and ten put it aside for next spring.
This is one of my favorite dishes and even though it is typically offered as a first course, I could easily enjoy this as an entree with a nice steely French Chardonnay (most sommeliers cringe when they have to pair a wine with asparagus). Asparagus is not only beautiful, it carries a unique flavor profile, and when cooked properly a meaty texture that is truly satisfying.
This dish has appeared on more menus that I have planned and special events that I executed than probably anything else that I have cooked. So don’t be surprised if you see it from time to time.
Preparation is fairly easy, the impact is all in how it is presented.
RECIPE: Poached Asparagus with Garlic, Onions and Citrus
ASPARAGUS SPEARS (jumbo preferred) 16 spears
CIPOLLINI ONIONS 8 – quartered
GARLIC CLOVES 8 each (coarsely chopped)
CITRUS SUPREMES 16 supremes (membrane removed – mix of ruby grapefruit and orange)
CASHEWS (salted) 1/2 cup (chopped)
JUICE FROM ORANGE 1 large navel orange
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL 1/4 cup
HONEY 2 tsp.
SEA SALT and FRESH CRACKED PEPPER – as needed
1. Peel the stems of the asparagus
2. Poach in a small amount of chicken stock until tender, but still with a slight crunch
3. Combine the quartered cipollini and garlic and caramelize slightly with a small amount of olive oil
4. Prepare the citrus supremes and allow to sit at room temperature for about an hour
5. Whisk the orange juice, honey and room temperature olive oil until an emulsion is formed
6. Chill all ingredients
7. Assemble the salads as per the picture provided
8. Sprinkle the top of each salad with chopped, salted cashews
9. Drizzle the olive oil/orange vinaigrette on each salad and season to taste with sea salt and cracked pepper