Both surprised and delighted to spot white asparagus in Union Square on Monday (I think it may even have been a first for the Greenmarket), I immediately picked out a small bundle to take home. The spears were small, each had a tinge of green toward the top, and it was no longer spring. These are all attributes not found with Spargel in the land whose people are obsessed with it to the point that when green asparagus appears on a menu in Germany, it has to be so described as grüner Spargel, to avoid both misunderstanding and disappointment.
They were delicious, and, although I think it’s still a work in progress, I will be looking out for more, maybe come spring next time.
I served the asparagus as a separate course, as much for aesthetic reasons as anything else, but I also wanted to pay a lot of attention to the preparation of a rare find, one I was doing for the first time.
- approximately 8 ounces of white asparagus from Lani’s Farm, trimmed and peeled, gently boiled until cooked through in a generous amount of water along with salt, a pinch of turbinado sugar, fresh organic lemon juice from Whole Foods, a bit of ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘, and a small piece of dried white bread, drained, dried on the top of a towel, removed to 2 plates and drizzled with lemon juice, a good Campania olive oil, D.O.P. Penisola Sorrentina “Syrenum”, and some chopped lovage from Campo Rosso Farm
- served with slices of Grandaisy ‘Sette Grani‘
- the main course was salmon, prepared in a way slightly modified from a very good Melissa Clark recipe, using one fresh, wild 12-ounce sockeye salmon fillet from Whole Foods, marinated in the refrigerator in a covered dish for about 2-3 hours while coated on both sides with a mix of light brown turbinado sugar, sea salt, freshly ground tellicherry pepper, freshly ground allspice, freshly ground nutmeg, and the zest of half of an organic lemon from Whole Foods, after which the fish was rinsed, patted dry, brought to room temperature, oiled generously, and cooked on an enameled grill pan, first flesh side down, then turned, cooked for another minute, removed, drizzled with a little juice from an organic lemon from Whole Foods and some olive oil, and served with wedges of the same lemon
- three different varieties of yellow summer squash (from Norwich Meadows Farm and Lani’s Farm, cut into 1/4″ diagonal slices, tossed in olive oil, sea salt, and freshly-ground Tellicherry pepper, pan-grilled, removed to a bowl where the squash was tossed with a few thinly-sliced Kalamata olives, olive oil, organic lemon juice, and a combination of chopped calamint and chopped wild mint, both from Berried Treasures
- the wine was an Austrian (Wagram) rosé, Fritsch Rosé Zweigelt vom Donaulöss 2015, from Chelsea Wine Vault
- the dessert course was simply 2 perfect peaches from Tree-Licious Orchards
- the wine before and during the fruit course was an Oregon (Willamette) white, Kings Ridge Pinot Gris 2014
- the music througout the dinner was the entirety of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s gorgeous, ‘Persée‘, in a great performance by Les Talens Lyriques, conducted by Christophe Rousset