Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asparagus cookery

exhibit a exhibit b

I mentioned how I learned a decent technique for cooking asparagus from Heston Blumenthal's book in previous post. I do it often. My friend loaned me his Nikon D50, in order to get some professional quality photos for the blog/website I'm working on, so I took it out for a spin while cooking dinner.

The technique is simple. Place asparagus in a cold pan big enough to fit it all in one layer. Pour some oil over the asparagus, but only enough to film the bottom of the pan and lightly coat the asparagus. Put the heat on low, cover with a lid, and cook until its the desired doneness (a bit more toothesome than fork tender for me).

The idea is that blanching asparagus in water extracts a lot of that excellent asparagal flavor into the blanching water. Not enough of it stays in the stalk. Also, the pigmentation of asparagus is water soluble, but not oil soluble. Easy fix, cook it low and slow in a little bit of oil. The recipe adds little fat to the asparagus (its not a sponge so it doesn't sop up the oil), and keeps it pretty green. THIS IS THE EASIEST WAY OF MAKING ASPARAGUS SUPER FLAVORFUL!!!! All of the flavor is really in there. Try blanching it in salted water, shocking it in ice water, and reheating it in unsalted water. Then try this method. Leave a comment.

Admittedly, I overcooked the asparagus (exhibit b). I should've took it out when it was just done (exhibit a). I had a bit too much fun w/ the camera and its excellent manual settings.

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