I know, last week we posted a recipe with asparagus as well, but who cares. There in season and delicious. And it happens to be the birthday of the king back home in the Netherlands today! Since I think the asparagus is ‘the king of vegetables’, this is the perfect dish to celebrate King’s Day.
I owe this recipe to my Mom, my inspiration. We skype every week and nine times out of ten our conversation ends with discussing food. What are you going to make for dinner tonight? What did you cook for friends? Where did you eat? Her stories are so mouthwatering; they always make me hungry and long for cooking. I take notes while chatting, so I won’t forget the dishes, ingredients, and preparations we talked about.
Yesterday she told me that she had asparagus with a lemony blue cheese sauce as a starter. Super easy, and absolutely a winner. I immediately felt like making it. There was a beautiful bundle of organic green asparagus sitting in my fridge, and I still had some blue cheese left. I suggested adding dill and capers to the sauce. ‘Even better’, my mother said.
And please do use good quality blue cheese. Cheap factory cheese is rather salty and sharp and misses that sophisticated aromatic taste that good blue cheeses have. Your sauce just won’t taste as good with such a cheap buy. Go to farmers’ markets, a decent grocery store or a specialty cheese shop (Sona is a good place for cheese in DC) , it’s worth it.
Action time: 20 minutes
1 bunch of green asparagus, trimmed
For the sauce:
4.5-5 oz/125-150 g good quality blue cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp heavy cream
grated zest of ½ organic lemon
½ -1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp capers
a few sprigs of fresh dill, chopped, plus extra
1. First make the sauce. In a small saucepan melt 3.5 oz/100 g of the cheese together with the cream over low heat. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and dill and remove the pan from the heat. Add a little freshly ground black pepper. Let cool a little until the sauce thickens slightly, then add the rest of the crumbled cheese: it’s nice to see some crumbles in the sauce. Taste and add more lemon juice if you like.
2. In a large pan, cook the asparagus in lightly salted water for about 3-4 minutes until just tender; do not overcook them. Remove from the water and remove to a towel to dry. Divide among plates (3-4 spears per person) or put them on a large platter. Drizzle over the sauce and garnish with extra dill. Serve with toasted baguette (see tip below).
Preheat the oven broiler. Slice a baguette diagonally into 1/3 inch/ 1 cm slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil bread for 2-3 minutes until toasted on both side, turning it once with metal tongs. Be careful not to burn the bread.