Catalan Asparagus with Salsa Vinagreta
I love spring vegetables, but then again, who doesn’t? When green things that aren’t cabbage or kale start making their rounds through things like the farmer’s markets, good restaurants, and blogs (of course), we know good things are happening. And by “things,” I of course mean the prospect of sunshine and clear skies.
Unfortunately, I walked out of the house this morning wearing a hoodie, a rain jacket, and a scarf, so it looks like those prospects aren’t looking too good. It seriously bothers me that this is all occurring in the second half of May. I mean, it’s just not right! Halfway through April I was lounging in my swimsuit, reading books under the sun, and making big salads for dinner. Now that we’re almost to June, I feel like my legs are as pale (read: white, white, white) as they were in January.
(A slight digression: I was reading Camus’ The Plague awhile ago, and in it, the author implies that people who are obsessed with the weather are only so dependent on it because they fail to have any other interest, direction, or passion to steer the emotional course of the day. (If you’ve read The Plague, please don’t hold me accountable to any interpretive scrutiny.) I feel like Camus was doing some serious poking-of-my-ribs there, but I can’t help but think the weather is perhaps the most important thing. Well, of course besides the obvious and obligatory things like love and family and all that. The weather even trumps food, and that’s saying quite a lot for me. I could probably make a whole religion that revolves around the Sun—see how I just sneakily put the sun as a proper noun there, hehe? Actually, that sort of religion probably already exists. Whatever.)
Anyway, when I saw a big bundle of fat asparagus at my parent’s home, I was trying to decide between making an asparagus tart or this recipe. I think my internal seasonal clock was pulling at me to make this one, just because during this time of year I would ideally be lazing around in the sun all day and wanting something fresh and light for dinner. This is the type of food I’m craving during that time: fresh vegetables, cooked until tender, with a sharp sauce of some sort. This one is Catalan, apparently, and calls for tomatoes, red onions and capers to be added to a basic white wine vinaigrette. Topped with some herbs and a few wedges of hard-ish boiled eggs, it all tastes pretty delicious. And, with a good few pieces of bread to sop up all the vinaigrette that puddles beneath the asparagus, this makes a fine meal. This is exactly the type of meal I hope I’ll consistently be eating a lot of soon—Sun, please come soon.
Song Pick of the Week: If you’re in the sunshine, somewhere, 1) I envy you, and 2) listen to this song, Moi Je Joue, by Brigitte Bardot. Fun Fact! I first heard this song when it played during the Sofia Coppola-directed commercial for the Miss Dior Cherie fragrance. I watched the commercial, in a daze, and decided then and there that I would buy that fragrance. I know this is exactly what the ad-people are seeking to accomplish, and honestly I’m as anti-capitalist as the next person (or most likely more). But I knew I would love it! I knew it would be my fragrance—something I have been seeking to acquire for the past few years! And look, now it is. So thanks, Brigitte Bardot.
One Year Ago: Chicken Tikka Masala and a Simple Rice Pilaf
Catalan Asparagus with Salsa Vinagreta
Serves 4 as a main (with lots of bread, obviously); 6 or so as a side
2 pounds asparagus, woody ends trimmed
7 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2-3 plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Liberally salt the water. Add the asparagus, in batches if you have to, and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Test a spear to make sure the asparagus is cooked but still has a little bit. Drain, and transfer to a serving platter.
Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt in a medium bowl. Once somewhat emulsified, add in the capers, parsley, tomatoes and onions and whisk again to combine. Taste for salt and pepper (you’ll probably have to add some). Pour over asparagus and top with wedges of hard-boiled eggs. Eat warm, room-temperature, cold, whatever; just eat it with good bread.