the moveable feasts

Catalan Asparagus with Salsa Vinagreta

with 17 comments

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.

salsa vinaigretta

(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.

catalan asparagus with salsa vinagreta

One Year Ago: Chicken Tikka Masala and a Simple Rice Pilaf

Catalan Asparagus with Salsa Vinagreta
From Saveur
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.

Written by Amy

May 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

17 Responses

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  1. Wow, love these photos, and that salsa vinaigrette looks like it would come in very useful for a lot of other dishes. This is the kind of eating I’ve been looking forward to for so long!

    • Me too! And yes, it was a very tasty vinaigrette… I bet it’d be good on most any kind of vegetable!


      May 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

  2. I’ve never heard of using a vinaigrette like this one with asparagus! Super intriguing. It sounds like the perfect lunch, especially with those beautiful boiled eggs. :)


    May 27, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    • It does make the perfect lunch. Thank you!


      May 27, 2013 at 6:54 pm

  3. Everything is always better with good bread. The hardboiled eggs make this over the top delicious. I’d want to eat it all!

    I got a mild sunburn on Saturday and have been bundled in a hoodie, jacket, and rain boots today. You never know what to expect.


    May 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    • I guess that’s a positive way to look at it…keep it spontaneous and unpredictable, weather! I wish it were more obedient though.


      May 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

  4. We have had a terrible spring here so far, at least weather-wise. Lots of rain, almost no sun, really late snowfall. I have been trying to will spring here by eating lots of asparagus, but no luck so far.
    These Catalan asparagus really do sound like the perfect spring lunch. I might have to make this one of the last things I cook in my kitchen for quite some time.


    May 28, 2013 at 12:44 am

    • Oh, the rain, it won’t stop! Right as I’m typing this there’s a new downpour! And you should get this in before you go — who knows when you’ll get fresh food as you head out on the airplanes.


      May 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm

  5. Ugh, I am so with you on the weather thing – it was gorgeous here yesterday but today it’s 12 degrees and raining. I’m wearing tights…in MAY! I’ve been eating gorgeous spring produce to keep my spirits up (although our asparagus has been a bit late this year because of the awful weather) and this looks like a must-try recipe. Asparagus and egg is always a winning combo.


    May 28, 2013 at 1:38 am

    • Yes it is, especially when the egg is soft-boiled and runny all over the asparagus (I do like it hard-boiled here, though). And yes, it’s so infuriating! Food is a good thing to turn to keep a good mood.


      May 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

  6. Yeah, the weather has been on and off around here lately too. It’ll be warm this week but stormy throughout, by the looks of it. Good for the plants, at least?

    Thanks for this fresh take on asparagus. It’s always good to have, I don’t know, at least ten asparagus recipes at your fingertips around this time of the year. (There’s still not much else going on at the market, apart from salad greens!)


    May 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

    • Haha! Yes, I’m glad someone is benefiting from this lousy weather… I do hope your plants have some success from it. And yeah, I probably will have the chance to make the asparagus tart, after all, what with all the asparagus that is around.


      May 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

  7. Ha! Had to laugh. The Weather is one of the most time-consuming preoccupations in my life. Camus would find me really boring. I hope proper spring weather hits the Pacific Northwest soon! We’ve been experiencing a bit of a slow start to the spring as well, but I’m glad, because once real summer hits, I will die. (How do people who live in the Tropics do it? Humidity is so unbearable!)

    I’m really curious to try this dish because the flavor profile is pretty foreign to me. That salsa vinagreta looks mighty refreshing, and I love asparagus! (As well as all spring vegetables. Of course.)

    Love the story behind your song pick. I was on a similar hunt a few years ago. A signature scent is very important!


    May 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    • Oh gosh, I can’t wait for real summer to hit, but then again, summers in the Pacific Northwest are clear, dry and beauttiful with all the water around. I hate humidity too, and I’ve heard some nasty things about East Coast summers. I hope you get through yours alright!

      And did you ever find your signature scent??


      May 28, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      • I did! Marc Jacobs. I think it’s their classic scent and it smells like gardenias!


        June 3, 2013 at 5:06 am

  8. That is exactly the kind of song that would make me dazedly buy perfume. I know what you mean about being actively sucked in by advertising, but on the other hand, perhaps it’s just acknowledging a job well done? I don’t know, all I can think about now is how ridiculously pretty Bardot was and that *I* want this perfume now. Damn you, advertising!

    To be fair, Camus, if it wasn’t for weather, what would we talk about with strangers?

    I envy you all these fresh spring vegetables, although I haven’t actually had any kale yet this season so shouldn’t complain too much – I am still looking forward to eating lots of it.


    May 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

    • Haha! “acknowledging a job well done” ! I love it. For what it’s worth, the perfume does smell wonderful, but who knows if that’s an objective opinion or not…


      June 3, 2013 at 9:43 am

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