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by on May 5th, 2012

Asparagus with Orange Sauce

Inspired by French cooking class to try this recipe.

My favorite part of France was walking around the markets that were in our neighborhood in Paris and also in the small towns we visited while in Provence.

It is hard for me to imagine (except I was there and saw it) what it would be like to shop daily for your food, to see just picked vegetables and know that they probably still have an earthy smell to them. One day we saw the most beautiful turnips (see picture below), they still had green stems attached and looked just minutes picked from someone’s field.

One of the things we prepared in our cooking class was a simple sautéed asparagus (see pictures below) with salt and pepper and when it was done, Erick, our chef teaching the class, took a jar of orange oil (I think this is the kind sold in a pharmacy) and with an eye dropper, carefully dropped just a few drops of the oil over the cooked asparagus.  Having this that day reminded me of a recipe of Laura Calder’s that I had been wanting to try – Asparagus with Orange Sauce. When I saw her make this dish, I wasn’t sure about orange and asparagus but after tasting our dish in our class I thought, why not give her recipe a try.

The yolks kind of look a little weird in this picture.

Zest orange and set aside for the dressing.

Wisk up the dressing.


Asparagus with Orange Sauce

2 oranges
1 pink shallot, minced
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
20 spears green asparagus, trimmed
Parmesan cheese, for shaving
1 boiled egg yolk, crumbled

First, make the dressing:

Zest 1 orange into a bowl, then juice both oranges and boil the juice down in a small saucepan to about 3 tablespoons.

Meanwhile, mince the shallot and put it in a ramekin with the vinegar poured over. Set aside 5 minutes. Add the mustard to the zest. When the orange juice has reduced, strain it over the zest. Drain the shallot, discarding the vinegar, and add. Whisk all together, then slowly whisk in the oil. Taste, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Bring a saute pan full of water to the boil. Salt it, then add the asparagus and cook until tender. Drain, and immediately rinse under ice-cold water to set the color. Pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a serving platter. Spoon over the sauce. Shave over Parmesan cheese. Crumble the boiled egg yolk over top (optional). Grind over some pepper and serve.

Erick is hand picking the asparagus we later cooked in our class. Isabel, his translator, is in the blue coat and I don’t have the foggiest who the other onlooker is.
Now this was the skinniest asparagus I have ever seen.
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