Peruvian White Asparagus
Shaved Californian Avocado
I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today for meat to make a very Autumn-Style dish for a big party this weekend: Stout Braised Short Ribs, a two-day process which we will be starting tomorrow morning.
Walking into the produce section, I noticed this big display of asparagus, the quintessential Spring vegetable, right? Turns out this asparagus was from Peru. Where Spring has sprung! In solidarity with my Southern Hemisphere Cooking Compadres, I picked up some asparagus to serve along side a Whole Foods pre-cooked smoked chicken tonight. Their smoked chicken is really good.
Trim off the end of the asparagus, then shave the entire stalk with a vegetable peeler.
Place shaved asparagus stalks in salted simmering water with a bay leaf. Cook until tender, taste for doneness. This was about 8 minutes. When tender, place asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then dry on paper towels.
Mix mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper, and a splash of tarragon vinegar. Tonight’s dinner had to be effortless, considering the upcoming party and all the cooking involved. But…
Mayonnaise aficionados might appreciate an “almost effortless” homemade version, compliments of Julia Child, that I paired with fresh swordfish here.
“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all.” Julia Child
Shave a slightly under-ripe avocado into strips with the vegetable peeler. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, ladle tarragon mayonnaise over the center, top with shaved avocado ribbons. Add a tarragon sprig for garnish. This side dish was really simple and quite lovely.
Happy Spring to My Blogger Friends in the Southern Hemisphere!
For more information on Peruvian White Asparagus, please visit Gourmet Trading Company here.
Pistachio Crusted Fresh Opah from Fijian Waters
Pomegranate Nectarine Reduction
Opah, also called moonfish, weighing up to 200 lbs., is harvested incidentally by long-line boats fishing for tuna and billfish in the Pacific. This fish does not swim in schools, so it is caught by accident. Historically, catching an opah was regarded as good luck and was given away rather than sold. The fishmonger at Bristol Farms poetically told me that the skin of a moonfish resembles moonlight dancing on the ocean. (photo from hawaii-seafood.org)
Opah has a rich, creamy flavor and firm, fatty texture, resulting from a diet of mostly squid. To make this dish: Combine pistachio nutmeat and panko breadcrumbs with rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in a food processor. Dust the filet with flour, lightly coat with mayonnaise, then crust the filet with the pistachio mixture. Sauté in olive oil in a non-stick ovenproof pan until both sides are browned. Finish cooking the fish for just a few minutes in a 400° oven.
The folks at POM Wonderful
sent me a few samples of their pomegranate products, one of which is this awesome POM Nectarine juice. 100% juice. I simply poured it into a pan and reduced it over medium-high heat to a syrup consistency. It needed nothing else, and paired beautifully with the fish! I am looking forward to trying this juice reduction with other dishes. And thank you POM Wonderful.
A jaunty table setting with colors of the roses: red, purple, and white.