Thursday, April 21, 2011

Orange and Green Asparagus

There are those times when you pull random ingredients off the counter and out of the fridge around lunchtime to throw something together, and it turns out less than delicious, but then there are those days when whatever you have around seems to magically go together just right.  Enter, orange and green asparagus.  Asparagus with citrus and garlic is nothing new, but this take on a classic pairs the flavors of orange, green garlic and fresh chervil for something fresh and new.  This leads me to one of my favorite things about receiving a box of seasonal produce each week...  It spurs me to try out new ingredients in new combinations, yet each dish is still reminiscent of classic flavor combinations.  Why are these flavor pairing so familiar, and why do they seem to go together so naturally?  Perhaps because they harken back to dishes that emerged from generations of people cooking with whatever was in season, adapting their recipes and their palate to whatever was on hand.  
-Olive oil
-about 4 inches of green garlic, minced
-1 tsp orange zest
-juice of 2 oranges (or about 3/4 c)
-salt and pepper
-one large bunch of chervil, chopped
-1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed and woody stem removed 

->  Heat oil over medium heat in a medium pan.  Add green garlic and saute until translucent.  Add orange zest and mix.  Add orange juice and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until reduced by about half.  Add chervil.  
 Lay asparagus over sauce and stir to combine.  Allow to steam in the orange and green sauce until fork tender.  Toss and serve.
~*TIP(s): Chervil is similar in flavor to parsley, but with a slight anise flavor.  If you do not have access to chervil, you can substitute parsley for a less-anise flavor or tarragon for a more-anise flavor.  Green garlic can have a short window of availability, as it is the immature stalk of the garlic plant before it forms a bulb.  Mature garlic could be substituted in lesser amounts for the green garlic in this recipe, but it would still result in a much more pungent, less fresh flavor.  A better substitute if green garlic is not available might be leeks or even green onions.*~  

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