I’m very proud of myself. I improvised not one but TWO recipes this week with asparagus. In both cases, I bought the asparagus at the farmer’s market. The first time I brought it home to use in a Heidi Swanson recipe involving farro, but then my store didn’t have farro. It had pharaoh, but that didn’t help. So I came home defeated and made pasta and then the next day, instead of going to lunch, I looked at that asparagus and said, “I’m going to eat you. I don’t care if I don’t have farro!” So I stemmed the asparagus (you do that by bending it until it snaps, then throw out the lower half) and tossed the good parts with olive oil, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. I heated the oven up to 500 and popped the asparagus in there for, approximately, 7 minutes. But you’ll know when it’s done because the asparagus will get color. Then, once it came out, I fried up two eggs in olive oil. That’s easy too: just heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, when it’s hot add two eggs, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, and when the eggs get golden around the edges and the yolk is still runny, take it off. I placed it on top of the asparagus and grated parmesan cheese on top. I did the same for Craig and we both agreed it was a terrific, easy-to-do lunch. (When the yolk pops, it coats the asparagus in creamy goodness–who wouldn’t like that?) 3rd grade teachers agree: Adam gets a gold star.
And then, tonight, I made this:
I had a real eureka moment with this. You see, at the farmer’s market I bought asparagus and cherry tomatoes and then I started walking down the stairs to the subway and once I got down there I was like, “What can I make with asparagus and cherry tomatoes?” I was almost through the turnstile when I realized that if I bought bread and basil and cheese, I could make a killer panzanella salad. And that’s exactly what I did! I climbed the stairs back up to the farmer’s market and bought basil, cheese (pecorino) and a loaf of sourdough and when I got home I cut the crust off the bread (just a thin shave, so I didn’t lose too much) and then cut the bread into cubes. I preheated the oven to 350, and tossed the bread with olive oil, salt and pepper and put on a cookie sheet. I toasted in the oven until it got golden brown and then, in a large bowl, I put in one minced clove of garlic, about 4 or 5 Tbs red wine vinegar, and then about 3/4 cup olive oil (though I eyeballed all of this, so use your judgment.) I whisked it all together and then, after cutting up the raw asparagus and cherry tomatoes, tossed it all together with the bread and slivers of pecorino cheese. Paired with the Sauvignon Blanc that was in our fridge and the finale of American Idol (I miss Melinda! She was the best), everyone agreed it was a triumph.
And those are two things you can do with asparagus.