Sunday, May 20, 2007

Asparagus salad with brown butter

I remember my first encounter with asparagus: mum used to cook this beautiful and deadly easy chicken with asparagus sauce dish. A dish that I even cooked in my university days. I remember vividly asking this good friend who was 10 years older than me how to cut a whole chicken. Mum used to go for a lot of fresh vegetables, loads of fruit, we never had fried food at home...but the asparagus wasn’t fresh. I think that in the part of Brazil we lived then it was nearly impossible to find it in those days- I am talking 1982. When I buy asparagus these days, and even mum, all beautiful and fresh, it is hard to understand how we could eat and enjoy that dish. Canned asparagus is just so soft that I call it mushy. I could not touch it with a barge pole nowadays. Funny thing life.

So on a very different note; I prepared this beautiful salad over the weekend. It is a Joanne Weir dish. So simple and so utterly delicious. The dressing is nothing without the brown butter. I tasted it before the butter was added, and I can say that the butter adds a depth to the sauce that had me asking for more. I went for some brown bread to mop up the sauce left on the dish. It is a sin to waste a single drop in my opinion.


I thought that it would be the ideal contribution for this week’s WHB. Beautiful asparagus, in a gorgeous sauce. So seasonal, simple and a great starter. The dressing can be used with other salads as well. I have sent my email to Ellie from Kitchen Wench with my contribution. Hope she likes it!

Asparagus salad with brown butter and lemons

2 eggs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 shallot, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ pounds fresh asparagus ends removed


1st: boil the eggs, remove them when ready, chop them up and reserve them until they are required.

2nd: this is the trickiest part – and the maker of the recipe in my opinion, place the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the butter until it begins to foam and then the foam subsides. Continue to cook until the white solids turn into a rich golden brown and the butter just begins to smoke. Remove from the heat immediately and,

3rd. throw the melted butter in a bowl, followed by the olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar and the chopped shallots. Mix well.

4th. Right before serving steam the spinach. When it is ready place the asparagus on a plate, drizzle the dressing over it and sprinkle the boiled egg on top.

If you have some lovely brown bread hanging around use it to mop up the juices as they cannot be wasted.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Tina, this is delicious! I'm sure Ellie is gonna love it - I did. I love asparagus and I'm so glad now we can find decent ones here in Brazil.
You can be 100% sure I'll try this recipe at home.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Are you kidding, I'm sure Ellie is loving it. And I do to. This looks like a great asparagus lunch in season! I could even enjoy it for breakfast ...

Anonymous said...

My goodness! Patricia and Tanna were right, this looks GREAT! I'm not much for rich sauces on vegetables, so I always get upset when I order asparagus and it comes out drowned in hollandaise - our asparagus are definitely not in season (darn winter!!) but as soon as the first spring asparagus appear, you can bet I'll be giving this a try!

Lovely blog, by the way, I think you've found another reader in me! :D

Kalyn Denny said...

What a great looking recipe. I just love browned butter on most anything, and the idea of using it in a vinaigrette type dressing is just fantastic. Great entry!

Pille said...

So I'm not the only one who was deprived of fresh asparagus as a kid:) I'm off to the market to get another batch - pre-ordered, as it's hard to come buy - today. And I've got so many lovely asparagus recipes now bookmarked, it's going to be hard to choose.
Love the elegant presentation!

Peabody said...

Mmmmm, just in time for asparagus season.

Freya said...

Lovely! Asparagus served so simply but with a little twist! Yum!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious! And what a entry to WHB also involves browned butter, but with pasta. It must be fantastic as a dressing for those lovely asparagus :)

Lis said...

Ohhh Valentina.. now you're speaking my language! hehe I heart asparagus SO MUCH! I can't wait to try them with this sauce!

Thank you so much for sharing the recipe. =)


Anonymous said...

This post just made me add asparagus to my shopping list tonight. Looks so delicious with all that brown butter!

Gattina Cheung said...

I simple adore this classic - asparagus and egg!

Helene said...

Well, you are right. Asparagus is such a great veggie, it just needs simple treatment, brown butter is fine.
Thanks for sharing!!