4/27/14. It’s asparagus season! Maryland’s very own Eastern shore is the perfect environment for growing great quality asparagus.
Segment 1: When preparing asparagus, you will want to: wash it well and discard the stem at the point where it naturally snaps off near the base. Place it into a sink of cold water to soak out the dirt, sand, etc. and remember to change the water a few times. When working with thicker asparagus, peel the very outside part very gently.
Cook your asparagus in heavily salted water in a large pot, let them move around freely in the pot, and cook for about 2 minutes. Have an ice water bath ready on the side, pull the asparagus out of the pot gently, and then shock or blanche them in the ice water.
Tony and Chef Wolf discuss some or their most memorable asparagus dishes from their favorite restaurants in Paris.
Segment 2: Chef discusses using the discarded asparagus stems to make soup and shares a recipe for asparagus soup: make the soup base first.
- To do this you will sauté ½ an onion and 2 shallots in butter
- Add a court of cream to the pot, and add salt and a little bit of pepper.
- Let this mixture work together on low simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Then, drop in the asparagus and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Have your blender set up nearby, and be careful not to overload the blender with the hot soup. Puree this mixture, strain it in a fine sieve, pass/push it through the sieve, put it into a container and ice it down to cool immediately. Refrigerate until ready to serve. A few garnishes Tony and Chef Wolf recommend with this soup include: Strawberry Jolie, Crumbled Goat Cheese, a nice Brioche/white bread crouton, toasted pine nuts, green almonds, and reggiano cheese.
Wine pairing with asparagus is always a challenge. It is highly recommended that you do not drink Chardonnay or red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon, with asparagus due to the clashing flavor agents. Tony suggests pairing asparagus with Soave.
Tony and Chef Wolf discuss knives: the proper use of each type, some safety tips, sharpening, etc. Chef recommends having a paring knife, a boning knife, a chef’s knife (8-10 inch blade) a cimeter blade for cutting meat, and a serrated bread knife (10-12 inch blade). Be sure to store your knives properly and use the correct type of cutting board.
Segment 3: Tony and Chef Wolf answer a couple of your listener questions, and after, they have a phone interview with Lisa Godfrey of Godfrey’s Farms located on the Eastern Shore in Sudlersville, MD. Godfrey’s Farms grows fresh, local asparagus, sweet corn, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, tomatoes, peppers, and more. Asparagus harvest begins in April, strawberries in May, blueberries mid-June, sweet corn around the 4th of July, and peaches, tomatoes, cantaloupes in late July. As for buying asparagus at the grocery store, Lisa Godfrey tells you what to avoid: turn the asparagus upside down and look at the bud end where it has been cut, if it looks woody and dried, it is no good.
Tony shares a recipe for grilled asparagus: cook and blanche the asparagus, drizzle with canola oil, drench the asparagus in black and white sesame seeds, roll it around on the grill to char a little bit on the outside. To finish it off, drizzle with a little sesame oil and soy.
Producers Segment with Lisa Godfrey of Godfrey's Farms.