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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Tonight was a definite comfort night, with our stand by menu of salmon, mashed potatoes, and green vegetable. Asparagus is in season, so we took advantage of the lower prices and fresher produce.
Dan told a great story while we were eating that he thinks the first time he had asparagus, it was slathered in hollandaise sauce, which made him instantly love it. Fortunately, I don't have to coat asparagus in sauce for us both to enjoy it - though I do love hollandaise.
While flipping through cookbooks, I came across a uncorrected proof of a Tyler Florence cookbook that I picked up at work. In it I found a recipe for steamed asparagus done in a paper bag, which he says helps avoid the leaching out of nutrients that happens when you blanch veggies. I have to say, it was wonderfully easy. Since I was throwing the asparagus in the oven, I decided to bake the salmon alongside it, and improvised a bit. The salmon steaks went into a baking dish, got a sprinkling of salt, pepper, and dill, some lemon slices, and then about a 1/2 cup of white wine poured carefully around the bottom. I'm not sure the wine did much to add flavor, but the salmon tasted pretty good. The asparagus was the real star, though.
Steamed Asparagus in a Paper Bag
1 lb medium asparagus, tough ends trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 lemon, sliced paper thin
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the asparagus in a paper bag big enough to hold them comfortably, with enough room to fold the bag closed. Drizzle the outside of the bag with olive oil (to keep it from burning). Sprinkle the asparagus with salt & pepper, and toss in the lemon slices and bay leaf. Close the bag, folding it over several times and creasing folds to hold the steam in. Put the bag on a baking sheet, drizzle with more olive oil, and stick in the oven for 20 minutes. When done, take the bag out of the oven and slide the asparagus out onto a serving plate.
(Recipe from Tyler's Ultimate.)