Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, I traded four dozen eggs for eight pounds of asparagus at the farmer's market. After we ate our fill of fresh steamed asparagus with lemon mayonnaise (recipe to follow), there were still about four pounds left over. Yes, we can eat a LOT of fresh steamed asparagus.
I've never make pickled asparagus before, but I sure like it. It's the kind of thing I never ever buy because it is just too ridiculously expensive and not really what you might call a staple. I mean really, when are you going to use pickled asparagus? On an antipasto plate, sure. In a bloody mary. Okay, so if I'm planning an Italian themed brunch hour cocktail party, I can see how I'd want some.
And now I have some. Two quarts and a pint - all I could find of wide mouth jars at the moment, and wide mouth lids were the only kind I had new. The reason I don't have any wide mouth canning jars is that my husband keeps stealing them for making test batches of biodiesel. There are about twenty completely ruined jars out in the shed, full of various grades of biodiesel.
Also, I couldn't find my tongs for removing hot lids and jars from boiling water. I had to use a long handled spoon and a carving fork. Clearly, I am not prepared for canning season, but so what? It's still May. I have plenty of time.
Hahahhahaha who am I kidding? I am going to be inundated before I know it.
Fresh steamed asparagus with lemon mayonnaise
Whenever you come into a lot of nice looking asparagus, this is the first thing you'll want to do with it. Wash and trim (by bending the asparagus until it snaps on its own) at least a half pound per person. Place in a large pot of cold, lightly salted water and bring to a boil. As soon as the water begins to truly boil - not just simmer - remove from heat. Let stand two or three minutes and then drain and rinse with cold water. This depends a little on the asparagus - if pencil thin and tender you will want to drain and shock immediately. If thick and older, let stand a little longer before draining. Asparagus should be bright, vigorous green.
In a regular bowl, mix a bog glop prepared mayonnaise (big glop = three or four tablespoons) with the juice of three lemons. Beat with a fork until smooth and creamy. Should be fairly thin, pourable. Season with plenty of fresh ground black pepper and a strong dash of cayenne.
You could serve this with anything, or even alone as an appetizer. Accompaniments that spring to mind are pasta with butter and pepper, tabouli salad, fresh baked bread, a big bowl of steamer clams, or any kind of fish for that matter. Oh heck, I really can't think of anything that doesn't go with fresh steamed asparagus and lemon mayonnaise. Steak? Sure! Roast chicken? You betcha!
Just be aware that anything you serve with this will be relegated to second place.