Day 360: Spring Asparagus with White Bean Sauce ◄

When your kitchen's not well-suited for the conviviality of cooking with someone else, what to do?

Two kitchens! Two kitchens in two states and two time zones! And for good measure, stir in the cookbook of still another cook, in still another state and time zone.

On complete whim, Catherine from Albion Cooks and I decided to cook from Cooking by the Seasons, which Brendon from Something in Season recently raved about and which prompted both Catherine and me to hustle up our own copies! (Okay, so now I've met two famous cookbook authors. Mark Bittman and Karina Allrich. Yes. That! Karina! our very own Gluten Free Goddess.)

(Catherine and I plan to cook "together" again in a week or so. And since Kalyn's ordered a copy; and so has Peanut Butter and Purple Onions; and of course, the guy who started it all, Brendon: Wanna join the fun with the next recipe? Anyone else? Maybe even, I don't know ... Karina???)

Catherine picked the first recipe. But I was happy about her choice for I'd also had my eye on the asparagus with a sauce of white beans, garlic and a splash of vermouth.

And it was GREAT! The simplicity of the asparagus isn't lost, yet the beans add an element of heartiness that makes this almost -- almost -- an 'entree' if paired with a good green salad or a bowl of soup. I can even see making it a vegetarian entree, the asparagus cut in short lengths and served with the bean sauce over, say, spaghetti squash.

I did steam the asparagus vs pan-sauteeing them as Karina suggests.

FROM THE ARCHIVES ... It's spring! This is the first time I've cooked asparagus this year but there're many other asparagus ideas in the Recipe Box. But I'm partial to the Asparagus Tapenade. And if you're looking for a Quick Supper? There's no beating Kitchen Parade's Roasted Salmon & Asparagus.

SPRING ASPARAGUS with WHITE BEAN SAUCE
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Click here for Albion Cooks' version
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4


WHITE BEAN SAUCE
16 ounce can white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic (from a jar! but Karina calls for 4 crushed garlic cloves)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel (I used fennel seed)
Salt & pepper to taste

2 tablespoons dry vermouth (Karina suggests vermouth and white wine)
2 - 4 tablespoons vegetable broth (I used water)

1 pound asparagus, washed and ends trimmed, steamed (I LOVE my vertical asparagus steamer though cobbled it together for maybe $10 vs paying a lot more)
Juice of half a lemon

Prep the beans, letting them drain while starting the sauce. Heat a large skillet over MEDIUM HIGH. Add the olive oil and heat til it's shimmery. Stir in the garlic and cook for a minute, then the curry and fennel and cook for another minute. Add the beans and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon HALF the beans into a food processor. (Karina suggests a blender. If cooking the sauce in a saucepan, vs a skillet, an immersion blender might work and save a dish.) Add the vermouth and broth, process til very smooth. Return to the skillet and gently warm. If the sauce thickens too much, add a bit of water.

While the sauce warms, steam the asparagus. Arrrange on a platter and squeeze lemon juice on top of the spears, then spoon over the spears. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION ESTIMATE
Per Serving: 156 Cal (22% from Fat, 21% from Protein, 57% from Carb); 9 g Protein; 4 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 23 g Carb; 7 g Fiber; NetCarb16; 70 mg Calcium; 4 mg Iron; 397 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2.5 points

ALANNA's TIPS
  • When you see this in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Cooking by the Seasons by Karri Ann Alrich

(c) Copyright 2006 Kitchen Parade

8 comments:

That's amazing--that was exactly the first recipe I was going to try from that book, but asparagus is already out of season here (and consequently, expensive). I'm definitely going to try it someday.

Hi Alanna,

Awesome job! Now I wonder how this would have tasted with vermouth, instead of wine.

This really was tasty and a totally new way to use asparagus for me.

Cheers!

How cool is this? Thank you so much for trying [and blogging] one of my recipes! And I totally agree about an immersion blender - when I wrote the recipe, I didn't have one; but now that I do...

MMMM--I love the idea of the white bean sauce. Have to try that!

How fun. I love the idea of a bunch of us all making the same thing.

Yeah, it's cook like Karina week!

I made this myself and blogged about it tonight. This definitely goes into my 'keeper' file.

For sure I want to join the fun!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna