It’s asparagus season once again. I love them so much. In college, we’d grill them on a tiny Weber along with a steak for dinner. It was quite the treat compared to the cafeteria! I still adore grilled asparagus not only are they so easy to make but I love the char taste on them. Most usually you find asparagus lightly poached which is also lovely. It’s a light way to eat them and also lends them to being infused or dressed with other flavors. Just last night my mother ate some with fish in a lemon burre blanc sauce. Yum. I decided to dress these up a bit with a topping of orange zest, toasted pistachios, and basil. It’s a rift on a pesto.
Finding asparagus at the farmer’s market is a treat. Hopefully you can find pencil thin stems that haven’t grown too woody. There’s two different preferences on asparagus, those who like them thin and delicate and those who like the thicker almost finger sized stems. I’m in the latter camp while Meyer is in the former. What I do know is that for both you need to break off the stems where they naturally break-that is to get rid of the woody bottoms. I don’t like cutting them because sometimes you don’t get all the woodiness at the bottom. Some people also prefer to shave the bottom 2/3rds of larger stems. This makes them more tender when you poach them. A lot of times asparagus in steak houses will be prepared this way. Generally asparagus have a lovely wild grassy flavor that needs no more than a bit of fat and a few grains of salt to make them sing. However, if you’d like to go a bit overboard then why not try this pesto to make those asparagus really shine.
- Bunch of asparagus
- 1 oz basil
- zest of one orange
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 tbsp shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt to taste
- In a small sauté pan toast the pistachios lightly, then set aside to cool.
- In a mini-prep combine the toasted pistachios, basil, orange zest, and garlic. Lightly pulse to begin to combine.
- Then while pulsing start drizzling the oil into the the mini-prep.
- Stop when all ingredients are combined and form a grainy paste.
- Taste and add salt. Stir to incorporate and add a bit more oil to make the pesto loose in consistency.\
- Set aside and start poaching the asparagus.
- In a sauté pan add asparagus and water to cover them.
- Set on a medium heat and simmer until the asparagus are tender but not soft.
- Remove them and place them in a bowl of ice water.
- Dry asparagus, plate them, and top with the pesto to serve.