Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Purple Asparagus With Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same

Actin' funny, but I don't know why

scuse me while I kiss the sky...
by Jimi Hendrix

Is it me or are a lot of vegetables purple that never used to be? When I was at the market the other day, I must've had purple haze all in my brain. I had just bought some petunias in various shades of purple and then saw purple asparagus in the produce section. If that isn't serendipitous, then I don't know what is! I had never tasted them, and was curious. They are actually milder and with a 20% higher sugar content, are sweeter than green asparagus. Now is the end of the April-May season for the purple asparagus and the ones I bought came from Canada. I thought they would go well with a lemon viniagrette and some chives from my herb garden. The chives are just starting to stretch and bloom with purple flower heads. Decision made!

Just like my petunias, these asparagus would also be good mixed with white and green varieties. Serve as a tricolor asparagus salad.

Purple Asparagus

1 pound purple asparagus
1 tablespoon lemon juice*

Trim the bottoms of the asparagus and using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough lower skin. To blanch them you'll need a 10-12 inch stainless steel skillet filled with 1 inch of water. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to the water. This helps maintain the purple color. Boil the water, add the asparagus and cook for about 4 minutes or until tender crisp. The thickness of the asparagus will determine cooking time. When done, drain them and run cold water over them to stop the cooking.

Serve at room temperature with Lemon Chive Vinaigrette spooned over them. Garnish with flowering chives, if available and lemon slices. *to maintain the purple color you must add the lemon juice to the cooking water.

Serves 6, as a side dish.

Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Zest of 1/2 lemon

Whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until emulsified. Continue whisking and add the Dijon mustard, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chives.
After spooning on the vinaigrette, top with lemon zest.

Makes about 1/3 cup.

Written and photographed by Diane

Purple Asparagus and Lemon Chive Vinaigrette recipe(pdf)

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