I think there’s something we can all agree on — the first taste of asparagus each year is one of the rites of spring. Not that spring has sprung in Paris quite yet, but the first green spears have just made their debut in the outdoor markets. I’d been waiting for that moment and seized on it last week while shopping for a dinner party. There, gloriously displayed, was a large heap of young asparagus. I bought it, brought it home and braised it.
Asperges braisées / Braised asparagus
Braising transforms asparagus into almost a different vegetable. Not that I don’t like the more delicate steamed variety with hollandaise or simply with olive oil and sea salt. I’m sure we’ll get around to that later this spring. But braised asparagus acquires a richly smoky flavor as it browns, a lusty, earthy taste. I usually serve it as a starter, but it also brings star power as a side dish to whatever you may be serving. At the dinner party, I served the asparagus alongside roast guinea fowl. There were no complaints.