I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asparagus Tips Braised in Butter

Asparagus Tips Braised in Butter

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Start by selecting 1 bunch of relatively thin spears of asparagus. Wash thoroughly in cold water. Drain. Remove the tough butt ends by gently bending each spear until it snaps into two pieces. Discard the tough end. Remove the scales starting just below the tip portion of the spear using a sharp paring knife or a vegetable peeler with a serrated blade. Line up spears, tips together. Cut tip ends in equal lengths of 1 ½ to 2 inches and tie into 2 inch diameter bundles. Leave a few of the tips loose so you can test the doneness of the asparagus as it is cooking by sampling a piece. Dice the remaining portions into ½ inch pieces.

Prepare a large pot of rapidly boiling generously salted water. The more water the better because it will more rapidly return to a boil once the vegetables have been added. The French method of preparing green vegetables starts with blanching. This will produce a cooked vegetable that retains it’s color, texture and firmness or crunch. Rapidly boil the diced asparagus pieces for about 4-5 minutes. Add the bundled tips and continue to boil 5-8 minutes more. Immediately drain and place into a large bowl of very cold water. This will stop the cooking process.

At this point the asparagus can be patted dry and placed in a covered bowl in the refrigerator to be completed later OR proceed to the next step.

Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees.

Butter a casserole dish and arrange the diced asparagus in the bottom. Place the bundles of tips on top and cut the strings. Fan them out so that they are visually appealing. Melt a few tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and cover with a piece of waxed paper cut to the shape of the dish.

Place the casserole on the stovetop and heat it briefly, then cover and place in the oven on the middle rack for about 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus is heated through. Serve immediately.