Monday, May 01, 2006

The Asparagus Stalks at Midnight

There was an odd noise coming from the kitchen, startling me from my book. DucCat was out in the garage, buffing the Ducatis. All three cats were present and accounted for, in varying states of snooze around the den. What, then, was causing the noise?

Again, that odd sort of sliding noise came, and it sounded decidedly green. Carefully, quietly, I crept towards the kitchen, and poked my head around the corner.
Much to my horror, a rogue asparagus was frantically scurrying about. I don't know how it got in, or what mischief it was up to- luckily, my knives were close at hand. Without hesitation, I dealt out a fistful of mercenary-style justice.

Harsh, to be certain, but the laws of the kitchen are swift and without mercy.

I stepped around the counter to clean up the remnants, when I came across yet another surprise.

A fine, fat bunch of asparagi, trussed up, and anxious to be liberated. Cutting them free of their bonds, I dispensed of the woody ends, and sat back to ponder their fate.

Asparagus shines in any number of preparations. Roasted, the edges slightly caramelize, and the flavour melds perfectly with salty cheeses. Steamed, it is perfectly accented with butter and a touch of salt. Dropped into a vat of boiling water 'till bright, draped with pork, and your mouth is going to party that night. So much love from such a little spear.

There is one preparation that, to my taste, perfectly captures that first "Ah-ha- I really do like asparagus!" moment from my youth: black sesame asparagus.

First tasted at a tapas restaurant, I couldn't believe how those simple black sesame seeds made the asparagus vibrantly alive. Toasted sesame, a hint of lemon juice, and the garden-fresh asparagus- I was utterly and inexorably hooked.

Black Sesame Asparagus

1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 cup black sesame seeds (or more, if needed)
salt and pepper, as desired
1/2 lemon, juice of

Snap off woody ends of asparagus, rinse, and pat dry.
Combine butter and olive oil in pan over medium-high heat until melted.
Add about half the asparagus, being careful not to over-crowd the pan.
Add about half the sesame seeds, a smattering of salt and pepper, and cook, turning frequently, until asparagus is bright green, and gives a little. A little bit of brown on the edges is perfect, just make sure it's still a bit firm. Nobody likes mushy asparagus.
Remove and keep warm while continuing with the remaining asparagus.
When all is ready, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the lot, and serve.

Now that your appetite has been piqued, head on over to Seriously Good for the month-long round-up known as Asparagus Aspirations. By the glory and the power that is bloggerdom, no spear shall be left behind!

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Blogger linda said...

OMG, that is hilarious!! The recipe looks really good, but I am still giggling over the rogue asparagus.

May 01, 2006 9:25 PM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

Funny post. That sounds gorgeous. Only one frown from me. Why on EARTH does it seem like everyone can find black sesame seeds except me. AAARGH!

May 02, 2006 12:55 AM  
Blogger Erika said...

LOL! That was entirely too fun to read!
Oh- and the recipe looks great too. :-)

May 02, 2006 8:01 AM  
Blogger iamchanelle said...

HAHAHA!!!! loved this!!!

and LOVE asparagus! i am always looking for new variations...THIS one is a must.

i am still laughing over your asparagus stalking....(reminds me of a certain celery stalking story featuring a certain bunnicula...)HAHAHA!!!!

May 02, 2006 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Tania said...

LOL! Alas, the treachery of asparagus ... I love your brand of swift and delicious justice!

May 02, 2006 12:47 PM  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

That was too damn funny! Thanks for brightening up a very dismal day here in Beantown

May 02, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Alanna said...

Very fun, Ms s'kat!

May 03, 2006 7:41 AM  
Anonymous SallyBR said...

Hi, Nerissa

you can find black sesame seeds at Penzeys

S'kat, loved the post, and the dish! ASPARAGUS RULE!!!!!!!

May 03, 2006 9:22 AM  
Anonymous ann said...

seriously, too funny!
reminds me of the book from the 70s (i believe) called "Stalking The Wild Asparagus" about foraging for wild foods in the US
too awesome!

May 03, 2006 11:31 AM  

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