I love learning new things about food and cooking. One of the ways we Pleasants go about learning about these things is through cookbooks. I have a rather long list of cookbooks in my library queue, and when we really fall in love with something, we'll buy it for ourselves. One of the best of these finds recently has been Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc.I was a great admirer of his French Laundry cookbook, but found the scale and technique rather daunting. More of a 'look but don't touch' feeling as far as I was concerned. However, like the restaurant of the same name Ad Hoc caters to family-style gatherings with approachable but impeccable food. The Mr. and I love how almost every recipe in this book teaches us something new about cooking, technique, particularly the 'light bulb moments' the book shares about simple, obvious, smack-your-forehead 'why didn't I think of that?' tidbits about cooking.
One of these was sharing a way to prepare the Asparagus coins pictured here. Not only did it suggest a method of preparing asparagus we had never tried before (coins?!?) but also, while fresh asparagus can be unwieldy and difficult or time consuming to cut individually, wrapping them up in a bundle with a rubber band and taking them as a group to a mandolin is a wonderfully easy and precise way to prepare these beauties. Duh!
Enjoy these on their own as a side dish or toss them into a salad like we did.
adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc
1 1/2 lbs thin asparagus, with ends snapped and 'coined' (technique above) plus tips
3 Tbs olive oil
a small handful of fresh chive
a small handful of fresh parsley
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil and herbs in frying pan over medium heat with the tips, swirling ingredients together for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the coins and cook until the edges look cooked but the centers are still raw. Add 3 Tbs water and cook until the asparagus is tender, another 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and enjoy.