Sigh. It’s sad to see such a lovely vegetable - the harbinger of spring salads, soups and finger foods - served tough, overcooked, undercooked, wrinkled, tired looking. It’s almost a crime, considering how darned simple it is to do it right.
Now, in the spirit of complete disclosure, I believe microwave ovens are only good for :
Heating up coffee or soup.
Defrosting some hamburger.
Warming up my corn kernel heating pad, which I use when the toes are cold in bed at night.
I been there, done that back in the 70’s when nuking everything in the microwave was all the rage. Shoot, I really believed that there must be a way to brown chicken in the damn things.
Alas, it was just as foolish and delusional as thinking I looked good with oversized glasses, a big perm and shoulder pads.
Yet, I’ve recently discovered that there is one vegetable that benefits from exactly three - 3 - minutes of high energy in the box. That’s those slender spears of green.
Clean your spears. Choose the fat ones, never the skinny ones. Thicker is better.
Forget the old ‘snap ‘em off’ idea. A nice, clean cut. Take off about 2 inches.
Peel. Yes, take off most of the peel - which is the bitter part.
Line up the soldiers on a double thickness of paper toweling.
Dust with salt, pepper, any herbs you wish (lemon thyme!). Drizzle with olive oil.
Roll them up.
Now spinkle your tidy bundle with tap water. Just moisten the paper. There should NOT be standing water in the microwave proof container or plate.
MICROWAVE ON HIGH FOR 3 - THREE - MINUTES.
Remove the bundle and unroll onto platter. Drizzle with more EVOO or butter.
Al dente. Perfect. C’est tres parfait!
Now could be the right time - while they are warm - to toss in a light honey mustard viniagrette and chill. Serve on a bed of shredded radicchio, with some shaves of Parmasan. Serve with a nice cold Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc? Why not?
Asparagus pairs very well with:
Ham, shrimp, parmesan, goat cheese, crab, eggs, butter - clarified, brown or regular, anchovies, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, oysters, marscapone, salmon, prosciutto or lean smoked ham.
Artichokes, beets, capers, leeks, peas, peppers, carrots, potatoes, turnips, ramps, shallots, tomatoes.
Bay leaf, basil, caraway seeds, cayenne, chervil, chives, dill or dill pollen, lemon thyme, truffle oil, mustard, tarragon.
Bon appetit, cherie!