People must love asparagus, or else they hate it and are desperately trying to find ways to cook asparagus that they will be able to stomach. I don’t know, but there must be some reason that so many people check my previous two posts on asparagus, “A is for Asparagus” and “A is for Asparagus – II”. (It may be a self-fulfilling prophecy because it appears as the “Top Post” below and people may “click” on it just to see what’s so mahvelous. Anyway, for asparagus lovers or haters anywhere, I submit this new recipe for those mahvelous green spears that cause so much curiosity.
I found this recipe last week and prepared it a few nights ago. It has a lot going for it – easy, inexpensive, and delicious. Other than the asparagus, the only ingredients that one might not have on hand would be ham, and heavy cream. Did I say that it was rather high in fat? No? Oh well, you won’t notice a little more than fat and calories than usual, will you? You can omit the cream and use whole or reduced fat milk in its place if you need to. This is another winning recipe from our friends at Epicurious, reporting on a recipe from the January, 2008, issue of Gourmet.
I can’t begin to guess how many delicious dishes I have prepared from Epicurious. It is a treasure for foodies and I hope you all have it bookmarked on your computers. If so, you may have already noticed this recipe. Well, I’m here to tell you to go grocery shopping and pick up whatever you need to fix this recipe soon. There will be a quiz later.
ASPARAGUS WITH CREAM SAUCE
Serves 3 or 4
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 T. unsalted butter, soft
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices good-quality bread, crusts discarded
1 c. heavy cream
1/4 c. finely chopped cooked sliced Virginia country ham
1/2 t. finely chopped garlic
1. Steam asparagus in a steamer rach over boiling water, covered, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
2. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.
3. Put broiler man with unlined rack in broiler and preheat 5 minutes.
4. Generously butter bread slices on 1 side, then halve diagonally.
5. Arrange bread, buttered sides up, on rack of hot broiler pan and broil 4 to 5 inches from heat until golden-brown in some spots and undersides are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes (watch carefully).
6. Briskly simmer cream, ham, garlic, and 1/8 t. pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and is reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 3 minutes. (If necessary, keep warm, covered — the sauce, silly, not you. Although, if you’re cold, by all means, keep yourself warm, too.)
7. Arrange asparagus on toast (on plates), stir sauce and spoon over asparagus. —-
All that is simple enough. Here’s how I adapted the recipe. Somehow you knew I would change a little bit here and there to make it “my own”, didn’t you. Well, I knew we would want more meat with the meal, so I used a little more than 1/4 c. ham, probably between 1/3 and 1/2 cup; I didn’t measure it. I used my “No Knead” bread and sprinkled the finished product with a tiny bit of Parmesan. I used regular ol’ ham from the grocery; I didn’t search for Virginia country ham. For all I know, it was Kentucky, Ohio, or Missouri ham. It served us well. Thank you, piggy, wherever you lived.