Joan Nova is served a great salad at a Palm Beach bistro, and decides to try and recreate it at home.
Text And Photo By Joan Nova
gen·e·sis/Noun: The origin or mode of formation of something.
People are always interested in recipe development…the how and why of how a dish came to be. I find it fascinating.
I have to give credit for the origin of ”braised asparagus and leek salad” to Buccán, an upscale bistro in Palm Beach, which is where I first tasted this vegetable combination. And the thought of it lingered with me.
When I was planning a menu for a tapas-style dinner party, I decided this salad would be a unique and perfect base for the first course…and it was. (Note the usage of the word ‘base’.)
Since I had no idea what went into the Chef’s recipe (besides asparagus and leeks), I did the FOODalogue thing…I took the germ of an idea and started building on it. And, lucky me, white asparagus were in season.
- white asparagus (or green)
- chicken broth
- olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cloves of garlic (whole + remove before serving)
- splash of white Vermouth
- salt, pepper, bay leaf
- Break off asparagus ends and peel.
- Cut off top ⅔ (most tender part).
- Save ends for soup.
- Shave stalks or julienne.
- Ditto inner most part of leek.
- Add some julienned green of the leek for color.
- Braise in liquid of chicken broth, olive oil and lemon juice seasoned by salt, pepper, bay leaf, a couple of cloves of garlic (whole/remove) and a splash of white Vermouth.
- Cook for about 8 minutes till tender.
- Serve room temperature.
Taste Test: This is a combination and method that I don’t think I would have come by on my own, but I cannot express how well the 2 vegetables marry and how delicious the braising made them. The texture was interesting and unexpected — and it was surprisingly flavorful. Nothing more was required on the plate, but…
Remember I said it was a “base” for the first course?
I served it with:
Shrimp Ajillo (shrimp marinated in olive oil, a little s+p, a lot of smoked paprika and minced garlic).
Parsley Romesco* (parsley, almonds, olive, S+P, garlic, lemon juice, drizzle of honey).
*totally superfluous I must admit.