Asparagus is one of the first veggies of the season – and a lovely side dish with beef, pork, chicken or beef. Here are some quick video cooking tips from Dig In Colorado – a homegrown and local gardening and cooking show on FOX Saturday mornings at 6:30 am. Let’s Dig In!
The biggest problem folks have with asparagus is overcooking, its a tender vegetable and even if it comes off the stove perfectly, carryover cooking can render it mushy in just a few minutes. Another problem is graying or discoloring, which happens when holding asparagus warm. All of this can be solved with quick cooking followed by a shock chill in cold water which stops the cooking quickly and preserves the bright colors. I’ll even do this if I plan to reheat, blanch for 1-2 minutes until almost done, shock chill and keep refrigerated until ready to serve, then quickly warm in a pan with a pat of butter for a perfectly lovely vegetable in no time.
Boiling water works fine, but I prefer a steamer, it’s easier to control, to check foods and can be run under the tap to cool quickly. Add asparagus to hot steamer (or boiling water), cook for about 2 minutes and then start checking for doneness every minute or so. First I am looking for color changes, then I’ll lift a spear, hold it sideways and give it a wiggle, and if it passes the first two tests, I’ll take a bite. I’ve learned through experience that to get perfectly cooked asparagus, you have to take it off the heat before it looks fully cooked. With a little practice and close observation, it’ll be second nature to you in no time.
|My Taste of Tokyo Seasoning|
4-5 TBS Toasted sesame seeds
1.5 pound asparagus
3.4 pound red and yellow bell pepper strips
2 TBS Soy Sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
Asian hot Chili Oil to taste
Drizzle of agave syrup, to taste
Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking every few minutes until aromatic and toasted. Set aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Break tough ends off of asparagus and cut into 2 inch pieces at a diagonal. Add to pot and boil until tender / crisp and bright green. Remove from hot water and immediately plunge into cold water to cool. Transfer to paper towels and pat completely dry.
Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, adding hot chili oil and agave syrup to taste. Toss with asparagus in a serving bowl, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature, or warm in microwave and serve. Note: this dish could also be stir-fried. Serve any additional spicy drizzle over fish below – or make a little more.
Pan Seared Fish with the Taste of Tokyo
4 striped bass or other sustainable fish fillets
Chef Mick’s Taste of Tokyo Sea Salt Seasoning
– or salt, pepper, togarashi and furukake seasoning
2 TBS olive oil (Picual preferred – see notes)
1-2 shishito peppers, or jalapenos (optional)
1 lemon, zest removed and cut into wedges
fleur de sel (sea salt flakes), optional
Season fillets generously on all sides. Preheat a heavy 12-14 inch skillet over medium high heat.
Add oil to pan, swirl and when shimmering, add fish fillets, browning well on the first side, turn and repeat on the second side – estimate about 6 minutes total cooking time, depending on conditions. Meanwhile, fry peppers in oil alongside, if using. Remove both fish and peppers to a rack.
Serve fillets over veggies with rice and a drizzle of the Asian Soy, Sesame Chile blend. – Serves 4-6
– Chef Mick (Michaelangelo) Rosacci, www.TonysMarket.com — www.TonyRosacciCatering.com
– Picual is available at Tony’s Markets. If you don’t have it, I suggest blending olive oil and canola oil.
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