Monday, May 4, 2015

asparagus with miso butter.

This past weekend was one of those weekends where it felt as if New York had finally awoken from the deep slumber that was known as the epic-ly cold and awful winter of 2015.  Our neighborhood farmers market returned! Windows were opended! Rhubarb was procured!  And the first asparagus of 2015 were purchased and eaten with such abandon that you would have thought I had never eaten them before.   

Asparagus are a beautiful thing and while my preferred way of eating them will always and forever be shredded atop a white pizza - my close second preference involves roasting them until impossibly crisp with a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper.  I am capable of consuming almost an entire pound like that in under 5 minutes.  

But for the first of the season, I felt it was only necessary that I step-up my game.  And so these asparagus were not simply roasted, they were also coated in miso-butter which may be the greatest condiment that has ever existed.   Miso-butter makes everything it touches impossibly addicting, so it's safe to say these asparagus were gone quickly.  Thankfully asparagus season has only just begun.

Asparagus with Miso Butter
Recipe adapted from NYTimes

The original recipe suggests cooking these in a pan over high heat rather then roasting them.  I am going to try that method next, but I always find roasting easier - it is so hand's off!  I am including both sets of instructions here.  Also - your miso butter will look a little "smoother" then mine does in the picture - I waited a little long to toss them with the asparagus.  Still utterly delicious.   

Oh and if you want to make this a meal?  Put an egg on it.   

Serves 2 as a main for 4 as a starter 

3 tablespoons oil or rendered pork or bacon fat
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and peeled if necessary
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons not-too-salty miso, preferably white (if you use yellow take this down to 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Mike’s Hot Honey
2 poached (or warm-bath-cooked) eggs (if you choose) 

If roasting the asparagus: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Place the asparagus on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with pepper (and a very very small amount of salt since the miso is salty).  Roast for about 20 minutes or until the asparagus are shriveled and blackened in spots. 

If cooking the asparagus via stove-top: Put oil or fat in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add as much asparagus as will fit in a layer, add salt (small amount of salt!) and pepper to taste, and toss and stir until browned and shriveled, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, over low heat in a small saucepan, warm and whisk together miso and butter, so they combine, and butter softens but does not melt. Whisk in vinegar and keep warm. Warm a serving plate.

When asparagus is done, put some miso butter on bottom of serving plate. Blot excess fat from asparagus if you like, put on top of the miso butter (or you can be lazy like me and just pour the miso butter over the asparagus), and top with poached eggs (if you choose). Serve immediately.

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