Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sauteed or Grilled Asparagus

Story: This Asparagus recipe is about pleasant surprises..

Smita and Vishy are the kind of friends that you can call anytime and drop in for coffee. Friends that you chat with for hours.. about nothing specific .. but feel absolutely refreshed after. Shank and Vishy of course make it a point to crack bad jokes and that sometimes becomes the star attraction of the conversation :-).

Smita and Vishy have a number of specialties when it comes to food.. South-Indian anything, yummmy crepes with sweet and savory filling, exotic teas with added spices and honey.. and the most recent - yummy home made rava idli..they are also very innovative when it comes to using veggies in their meal.

We went for dinner at Smita's place a few years back.. and Smita had made delicious home-made pizza and she had also got asparagus.. I had never even given a second thought to asparagus before that.. mostly because it looks soo different and I had no idea what to do with it. I was very skeptical about the outcome since it looked so strange..But when I had the first bite.. I was so pleasantly surprised that we finished the whole bunch in a few minutes..

So here's wishing you many pleasant surprises..

Source: Smita and Vishy

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients: For 3-4 people and 15-20 asparagus stems
  • 1 bunch of slender, tender green asparagus (haven't tried the white ones yet)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Water for blanching the asparagus stems
You can select from various seasonings or make up your own:

  • Salt
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Crushed black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
My current favorite..
  • A spicy blend of Italian seasoning that Shanu got from Italy.. I am sad that it will get over soon :(
  • A little shredded Parmesan cheese doesn't hurt..
I saw Bobby Flay and another French chef on Food network pealing the bottom 1-2 inches of the asparagus stems.. so I have started it as well. I think it gets rid of some tough to chew asparagus skin.

Once you have pealed the asparagus, heat enough water in a pan to cover the stems of asparagus. Don't add the asparagus yet.. add a pinch of salt and bring the water to a boil.

Now add asparagus stems to the boiling water and blanch them for a couple of minutes at the most. Strain the stems immediately and use the same pan (dry it) for sauteing the asparagus. Heat olive oil in the pan and then add all the seasonings.. as the seasonings start to splutter add the asparagus stems and saute for less than a minute..

That's it - transfer the stems in a serving plate and enjoy the nutty savory taste!

BTW you can also grill the blanched stems.. the result is quite different from the sauteed taste and it is sooooo yummy!


  1. Does this mean we need to go back to Italy to get the "spice mix". BTW, I am quite sure you can find some variation of that mix in the north end stores we went to the other day.

  2. :) sure.. if you are looking for an excuse to visit Italy - go for it! North End is indeed promising.. will explore in our next visit.

  3. In the spirit of bad jokes:
    Q. Why should you not be a vegetarian?
    Ans. Spare the asparagus, it can't run.