Friday, October 21, 2011

Green goodness

Asparagus time again. Such a simple thing to cook. This week I worked my happy way through three bunches (with a little help from my friends), and kept all the snapped-off ends and turned them into soup.    

Apart from gorgeous, incredibly calorific hollandaise, what I like to have with asparagus is another really simple green thing, salsa verde, deliciously sharp and tangy. Fortunately I've now got enough parsley in the garden to make it with - you need a lot.

Salsa verde (adapted from Claudia Roden's The Food of Italy)
Green sauce Emilian style

25g white breadcrumbs
1 large bunch Italian flat-leaved parsley, roughly chopped (she says 350g but I use about 200g)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 Tbsp shallots or onion
1 flat tin anchovies, including oil
2 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp lemon juice
olive oil

If you don't already have fresh crumbs, make them by processing the bread in the food processor. Take them out and set aside.
Process garlic and shallots or onion uintil finely chopped.
Add parsley and process until finely chopped.
Add anchovies, capers and lemon juice and process to mix well. Then add breadcrumbs and process again.
Add olive oil in a thin stream while processor is running until you get the consistency you want - thick or thinner.
Taste to see if it needs more lemon juice or a little salt.
Spoon into a shallow bowl and serve with asparagus -
or grilled chicken, or steak, or stirred into pasta.
Or you can spread it thinly on slices of toasted ciabatta and put sliced tomatoes on top.

Rummaging round the web, I found this very odd ad for asparagus. Stalking the American life, indeed...


Deborah said...

I *love* asparagus season. We gorge on it, so much so that by the time asparagus disappears again, we are thoroughly bored with it. Sometimes I have it for breakfast, poached and served on wholemeal toast, topped with a poached egg, with a curl of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, sea salt, and coarsely ground black pepper.

Mel said...

I am really getting into asparagus again now too, and mmm that salsa verde sounds delicious!

That ad is too funny - "asparagus the movie"?!

Plain Jane said...

I left for Buenos Aires in mid-October, the start of our asparagus season, which was a wrench.
Portenos seem to live on meat, cheese and bread, and the fruit and veg situation is pretty dire. But after a week or so we found a tiny hidden-away greengrocer just down the road, and, among other delights, he sells asparagus by the kilo. 15 pesos, or NZ$5 a kilo to be precise. It isn't sold picture-perfect, as at home, but just bundled into wet newspaper and an elastic band, unwashed and a mix of sizes.
And it tastes maagnificent. As do the strawberries (also 15 pesos per kilo and the tiny cherry tomatoes).

Mary McCallum said...

Your asparagus soup recipe Anne? I'd love to know. I love asparagus with oil, lemon juice, parmesan. a poached egg and black pepper. I also made a spring risotto the other day from my favourite risotto book which includes asparagus - actually asparagus stock would be delicious for that instead of chicken...