Steamed, boiled, grilled outdoors just after the steaks come off the fire. We’d prepared asparagus in these ways many times before and had no complaints but knew that there must be more creative treatments of this springtime classic. What better place to look for a recipe, we thought, than the Washington Asparagus Commission? You’ll find several more recipes at their site, but the one featured this week seemed especially appealing to us. It’s credited to Chef Vitaly Paley. You can find more about him at the website of his Portland restaurant.
Wine to Pair: We suggest something with personality, yet not so bold as to overpower the asparagus and salmon. How about a bottle of Barnard Griffin Rosé of Sangiovese?
Washington Asparagus with Smoked Salmon and Dill Butter
Chef Vitaly Paley
(Serves 4 to 6)
1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ounces hot smoked salmon, preferably from belly or collar of the fish, coarsely shredded
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus large dill fronds for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Align the asparagus stalks from the tips. Cut off and discard the woody fibrous ends so
the trimmed stalks are all the same length.
In a small mixing bowl combine butter, salmon, lemon zest, lemon juice, and chopped
dill. Using a fork, blend it all together. Season with salt and pepper, set aside and hold at room temperature.
Fill a large skillet 2 inches deep with water, bring to a boil, and season with salt until you
can taste it. Add asparagus and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate
lined with paper towels to drain and dry. Before they cool, transfer the asparagus to a
serving platter and season with sea salt. Spoon out the butter in small pieces, scatter atop the asparagus and serve. Garnish with dill fronds.
If grilling, preheat the grill according to manufacturer’s instructions. Brush the blanched
spears with a bit of olive oil and then place them on the grill. Roll them across the grate to give them grill marks and heat them through, about 3 minutes.
Transfer to a platter, top with butter, season with sea salt and serve garnished with dill fronds.