August 12, 2011

Piquant Creole Asparagus

Tiny is good...

Imagine the day, long ago before the early 1800's, when these green shoots appeared in southern markets and Creole cooks held them in awe, some toying with the idea as these being oversize fern fronds, or even sparrow's grass as some referred to it. A delicacy only the wealthy could afford, some feared these spears as the berries are very poisonous. In the finer restaurants, folks ordered Pointes d'Asperges au Beurre, or as we would say, asparagus tips in butter... and probably hawked full dinner courses upwards of a three Liberty head double eagle, one of New Orleans Mint's better coins.

I spotted these spears in a market and grab a bunch knowing all along what I was gonna do. It's unusual to see these pretties this small during late summer, I saw these babies were from Peru and that's just fine with me. This is a side dish we enjoy very early in the spring or when the shoots are small and slender, meaning extraordinarily tender. Other times of the year we slice the shoots in quarter-inch thick slices horizontally the whole length of the spear. Quick cooking is the key which is why I like to steam them but a quick boil will do just fine.



These asparagus spears are exceptional paired with grilled steaks, roasted cuts of meat and many seafood dishes as well. The finished sauce has a slightly noticeable level of heat, with just enough tartness to round out the savory sweetness. Enjoy!

Piquant Creole Asparagus
4 servings
oops, forgot the bread crumbs

1/3 cup of soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 small garlic clove
1 Tabasco or hot red pepper
1/2 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 1/2 pounds of asparagus
salt
3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar

In small skillet, brown crumbs in the butter, set aside.
In same skillet, cook bacon with garlic and pepper until bacon is crisp and brown. About half way through cooking bacon, add the red bell pepper.
Meanwhile, steam asparagus over boiling salted water until crisp tender.  Remove and put in a hot serving dish.
Remove garlic and hot pepper from skillet, add vinegar and sugar. Heat mixture, stir to dissolve sugar and pour over asparagus. Toss spears and sprinkle the top with buttered crumbs.

Note: You can always add a good dash of Creole seasoning or cayenne if you do not have a Tabasco or hot pepper.

13 comments :

  1. I have never tried asparagus this way. Sounds fantastic though. You are quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs!! :)

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  2. This is why I heart you. asparagus with tabasco and bacon..yummy!! have a great weeekend!!

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  3. Sounds delicious (love the history lessons). And the color from the peppers makes these pop for company!

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  4. I have yet to make this either Ellie got to try this one if Drick likes it its got to be good! thanks Drick for the inspiration!

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  5. Oh yum! I love asparagus and am also amazed that you were able to find them! This is a dish that would make Hubby become an asparagus fan for sure!

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  6. That asparagus is beautiful and another vegetable that will soon be going away for the season. Spring and summer have come and gone too soon this year (except for the heat!). I will have to give this recipe a try. Have a great weekend!

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  7. I love asparagus and this recipe sounds delicious! I enjoyed the history part very much!!!

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  8. I love the green colour....so refreshing and healthy. I love asparagus. I have just bought 2 bunches today. Thought of cooking them with prawns....yuuuummmm. You probably can guess my answer by now...haha. A friend from far away came to visit and she just loves seafood, especially prawns. You can imagine all the fun eating prawns....mmm....just too good! :D Have to cook a lot so that we don't fight...haha. Hope you are enjoying your weekend, Drick!

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  9. Asparagus are a favorite and your preparation sounds delish!! Have a great a blessed day, Catherine

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  10. I like the name Sparrow's Grass much better than asparagus. Either way, asparagus is my favorite vegetable - especially the thin ones. Yum!

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  11. These aspragus are wonderful. Great time to enjoy them now.

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  12. Beautiful dish, Drick! Thanks for the lovely and interesting intro. Sorry I haven't visited in a while...back to school time is kickin' me hard.

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  13. Wonderful balance of flavors here my friend! I do love asparagus, but sadly am the only one in the family who does...but then you know my boys love their bacon, so maybe this would tip them :)
    Fantastic dish!

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