Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amazing Spring Asparagus Sauté

serves 4IMG_6917

I love the springtime (despite the unexpected, debilitating snow storms that it brings to Colorado) because those early vegetables start to come out in all of their delicate, miniature loveliness. You can get the tiniest, most adorable little stalks of asparagus in spring, whereas during the rest of the year asparagus tends to have about the same circumference as my thumb…and is just about as tough and woody as I imagine my thumb would be, were I to undertake to eat it. This little sauté that I whipped up last night was a genuine delight—sweet, salty, tangy, slightly caramelized; I was on the road to eating the whole plate by myself for dinner when Chris snatched it out of my hands.

1 bunch thin asparagus stalks

2 Tbs olive oil

1 shallot, minced

2 tsp French mustard (such as Maille)

1 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs water

2 Tbs broth

1-2 Tbs half and half

Wash asparagus and chop off tough lower third of stalks. Cut the remaining stalks in half (widthwise, obviously). Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the minced shallot 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Add the asparagus and cover. Cook 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan frequently, occasionally removing the lid to stir and flip the asparagus. In the meantime, whisk the mustard, vinegar, water and broth together in a small bowl. When the asparagus is softening and beginning to brown slightly, add the sauce. Continue to sauté, stirring frequently, another 2-3 minutes. At this point the tips should be starting to get slightly wilty, and the vegetables should be starting to caramelize. Add the half and half, stir or toss until combined with the rest of the sauce. Garnish with fresh ground pepper and serve.  

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