White Asparagus Braised in Olive Oil & Rosé Wine
This dish can also be made with cauliflower, endive, fennel, or artichokes. Stick to white vegetables, however, as green vegetables will turn brown. Be sure to use a pot large enough to hold the asparagus in a single layer.
Created by Chef Tom Colicchio
43 E 19th Street
New York, NY 10003
Serves 4 as an appetizer
1 lb. white asparagus
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
2 small leeks, tops trimmed and green outer leaves discarded
2 celery stalks, trimmed and peeled
2 small carrots, peeled
2 slices bacon (optional)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs of fresh tarragon
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1-3/4 cups Bridge Lane Rosé wine (2004, Lieb Family Cellars, N. Fork, Long Island)
Combine the juice of 2-1/2 of the lemons and 2 quarts of water in a large bowl. Trim the asparagus to 6-inch tops, discarding the stems; rub the tops from time to time with the remaining half lemon. Set the trimmed asparagus tops aside in lemon water.
Cut the onion lengthwise, then slice thin. Quarter the leeks lengthwise, then cut them into thin strips about 2-inches long. Thinly slice the celery and carrots. (You will have roughly equal amounts of onion, leeks and celery.)
If you are using bacon, render it for 2 to 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup of the oil, otherwise just heat the oil in a large high-sided pot over medium heat until it slides easily across the pan. Add the onion, leeks, celery and carrots — the aromatic vegetables — to the pot. Season with salt, then reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly cook the aromatic vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they are tender but now brown, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Drain the asparagus and add them to the pot. Add a little more salt and pepper, enough olive oil to coat the asparagus (about 2 tablespoons), the bay leaves, and half the tarragon and thyme. Mix gently and arrange the asparagus in a single layer. Pour the wine and enough water to cover the asparagus, about 2 cups, and bring to a simmer. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat, and gently simmer until the asparagus can be easily pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.
Coarsely chop the remaining tarragon and thyme. Add the herbs to the asparagus and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the asparagus to cool slowly in the braising liquid, then garnish with the aromatic vegetables and some additional herbs. Serve at room temperature, chilled as a cold fish, or heated through.