It seems my love for asparagus is only matched by the Europeans. Now these people know how to appreciate a great vegetable. I remember when I was living in
One day while on vacation with friends in
There was one summer when I was 24 when all I did was to read Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things past) seven-novel series. It was supposed to be research for my master’s degree thesis, but who are we kidding. And I remember this one party where I couldn’t stop talking to this guy I really liked about how Proust was able to turn the scatological into the poetical, referring to asparagus as “delicious creatures morphed into vegetables, playing their Shakespearean fairy comedy by changing his chamber pot into a perfume vase”. What a dork I was. Needless to say we never hooked up.
Here’s my favorite way to cook them. It’s deliciously spring-like and sharp and vibrant! Simple enough for a weeknight, but special enough for company.
Lemon-asparagus pasta (Serves 4)
1 package bow-tie pasta
1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into large chunks
Juice and zest of 2-3 lemons, depending on how lemony you want it
3 tablespoons butter
¾ cup light cream
1 small package smoked salmon or trout (about 200 grams or half a pound), sliced into small pieces
Freshly grated parmesan
Freshly chopped parsley (you can also add fresh dill, although in moderation, since it’s a bit overpowering)
Cook the pasta. Steam the asparagus chunks for a few minutes, then remove from heat and reserve (you want to avoid overcooking them). In a large frying pan, melt the butter with the cream over medium heat. Add the zest and juice, then the asparagus, tossing to coat. Crank up the heat to high. Add the pasta and the fish to the pan and toss until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to plates, then top with parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!