Spring Garlic & Shrimp

Spring Garlic & Shrimp
1 lb large shrimp, thawed, peeled, and cleaned
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup sliced spring garlic, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 bottle of your favorite white wine
Melt butter in a large pan. Add chopped spring garlic and asparagus and cook on low heat until softened, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir in a cup of white wine and allow to simmer on low as it reduces to a thin sauce. While that’s cooking, pour yourself a glass of the wine and enjoy the aroma.

Add the shrimp and cook until just pink, being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Serve immediately, as is or over angel hair pasta. Top with sprinkle of parsley. Serve with white wine, if there is any left.

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart
Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
5 1/2 ounces (about 2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Prep your asparagus: wash, rinse, and trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears.

On a floured surface, roll puff pastry into a 12-by-12-inch square. Trim uneven edges.

Place pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a square. Using a fork, pierce the dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until lightly golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pastry shell from the oven. Let cool approximately 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange asparagus spears in a single layer over the cheese, alternating ends and tips.

Brush with olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Bake until the asparagus is tender, 15-20 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Asparagus Mushroom Strata

Asparagus Mushroom Strata
7 or 8 thin stalks of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½ cups milk
8 large eggs
½ pound Ciabatta bread, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
In a medium saute pan melt the butter over medium heat and add the asparagus, shallots, and mushrooms. Allow the vegetables to saute for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms and shallots are softened and the asparagus can be easily speared with a fork.Meanwhile, mix the cheeses in a bowl with the salt and pepper and set aside. Then whisk together the eggs and milk and set aside.

Generously butter a 13 x 9 baking dish and layer everything as follows: one third of the bread cubes, followed by one third of the cooked vegetable mixture, followed by one-third of the cheese mixture. Repeat this layering two more times. Then, pour the egg and milk mixture over the entire dish, pushing down on the bread so it begins to soak up the custard. Cover the dish and chill it in the refrigerator for 6 hours, or up to 24.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring the strata to room temperature, then bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it is puffed up the the bread tops are golden brown. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

Pickled Asparagus

Pickled Asparagus
30 asparagus spears

1/3 cup coarse salt

2 quarts cold water

1 2/3 cups distilled white vinegar

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon mustard seed

1 1/2 teaspoons dill seed

1 white onion, sliced into rings

1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes

2 sprigs fresh dill

Trim the cut end of the asparagus spears, and cut them into 3 inch lengths. Place them in a large bowl with 1/3 cup salt, and cover with water. Let stand for 2 hours. Drain and rinse under cool water, and pat dry.

Sterilize two pint size wide mouth jars in simmering water for 5 minutes.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, mustard seed, dill seed and onion rings. Bring to a boil, and boil for one minute.

Pack the asparagus spears, tips up, in the hot jars leaving 1/2 of space from the rim. Tuck one dill sprig into each jar, and sprinkle in 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Pour hot pickling liquid into the jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the rim. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, and seal with lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Cool to room temperature. Check seals when cool by pressing the center of the lid. It should not move. Label and date; store in a cool dark place. If any jars have not sealed properly, refrigerate and eat within two weeks.

Asparagus and Shrimp Salad

Asparagu Shrimp Salad

1 lb fresh or frozen medium shrimp in shells

1/2 tsp finely shredded orange peel

2 tbsp orange juice

1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed

3 oranges

Orange juice (optional)

1 tbsp olive oil or salad oil

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

6 cups torn mixed salad greens

1/4 cup sliced spring onions

Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact if desired. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups water to boiling. Add shrimp; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Transfer shrimp to a bowl. Add orange peel and the 2 tablespoons orange juice; toss gently to coat.

In a covered medium saucepan, cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling water for 4 to 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain again.

Peel oranges. Working over a bowl, cut oranges into sections; reserve 1/3 cup of the juice. (If necessary, add additional orange juice to make 1/3 cup.) In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/3 cup orange juice, the oil, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, asparagus, orange sections, greens, and green onions. Pour dressing over all; toss gently to coat.