Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
I wanted to do a new dish for my wife as part of her birthday dinner. So I decided to surprise her with Chef Jody Adams’ Warm Asparagus Spears dish from her book In The Hands Of A Chef (p. 80). As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I’d had this dish years ago at Rialto Restaurant and it immediately became a favorite of mine. It’s been since taken off the menu (sigh). The online recipe can be found here:
So I began by preparing the vinaigrette. I separated as small a clove of shallot as I could and finely minced it.
I got about 3/4 teaspoons out of it (and then some). So I reserved the 1/4 teaspoon of finely minced shallot for the dressing
and stored the 1/2 teaspoon and uncut clove of shallot for another time. I then combined the dijon, sherry
vinegar, minced shallot with 1/8 teaspoon of 4:1 salt/pepper mix and blended them together as best I could. Once that was done, I slowly poured in the 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil and tried to blend it in as best I could.
The dressing I set aside until I needed it to toss with the cooked asparagus.
Now it was just a matter of cooking, dressing and garnishing the asparagus. Having roasted asparagus before, I decided to skip the blanching step in Chef Adams’ recipe and go right to cooking
them at 400 degrees F for ~8 minutes (after tossing them in olive oil and 3 3-fingered pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper mix). With the asparagus roasting away in the c0untertop oven, I took my cheese slicer and began pulling strips from a wedge of 3 year old gouda for garnish.
Since the original recipe served for 4 people and called for about 2 ounces, I halved the amount of gouda slices for the dish.
When the asparagus finished cooking, I transferred the whole lot to a mixing bowl, poured in the vinaigrette and
tossed the asparagus until I felt it was well coated. Obviously this was a lot of asparagus to plate as an appetizer, but I wanted to make this a substantial side to a main entree of steamed lobster for my wife’s birthday dinner. Once the asparagus made it to the plates, I drizzled about a teaspoon of white
truffle oil over each plate. To finish, I garnished each dish with a bit of the gouda slices.
As I said, it was a bit more than one would expect of an ‘appetizer’ dish, but my wife mentioned that the gouda did indeed pair well with the dish, the truffle oil gave it that aromatic richness and the vinaigrette gave it that bright ‘punch’ to counter the richness.
Maybe one day, my wife and I will see this item again on Chef Adams’ menu at Rialto!