Asparagus is one of those vegetables that I get SO excited to see at my local store/market. It means spring/summer is here and it reminds me of good times at family get-togethers and not to mention, grilling season.
With that said, I find that after a few weeks of grilled asparagus with lemon butter sauce, I grow a little tired of the simple preparation. Since asparagus is in high season right now in France, I was dying for a new recipe. We were out for dinner in La Rochelle and my friend ordered an asparagus salad with orange strawberry sauce. Needless to say, I was really intrigued – a sweet sauce, with asparagus? I am usually not a fan of sweet and savoury together (let alone sweet itself most days), but he gave me one bite of his dish and I was hooked (not to mention that every other part of that meal was amazing – I am dying to re-create the fish dish I had!). The earthy flavours of the asparagus were the base for a bright, acidic sauce that just took it to another level. I knew that this had to be on my table soon.
When we got home from our weekend, I went to work trying to find a recipe for an orange sauce. I came across many, but I literally jumped for glee when I saw that my Laura Calder cookbook had a recipe for asparagus with orange sauce. She even quoted that this was “one of those dishes that people eat at my house, ask for the recipe, go home and immediately add it to their repertoire, which is the greatest compliment any cook can hope for – that’s why it baffles me that anyone would ever be stingy about sharing recipes”. Thank you LC for those absolutely perfect words – I couldn’t have said it better myself!
So now, I added my twist by using grapefruit instead of orange and let me tell you, it was even BETTER than the sauce we had in La Rochelle. It is the quintessential summer dish and as in the words of LC, I am sure you will have people asking for the recipe after two bites (and yes, I am happy to share it with you!)
If you are looking to switch-up your go-to asparagus recipe, or make your asparagus a little more elegant, this is a recipe for you. This would also make a beautiful started dish to a fancy summer dinner party.
Asparagus with Grapefruit Sauce
Yield: 2 main servings (4 side-servings)
Prep Time: 10 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
- 1 large pink shallot
- 3 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
- 1 large grapefruit (well ripened)
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 – 4 tbsp olive oil
- 20 spears of green asparagus, trimmed
- parmesan cheese, for garnish
Mince the shallot very finely and place in a small dish. Pour the vinegar over the shallot and stir to coat. Set-aside for 5 minutes, or while you prepare the other ingredients.
Wash the grapefruit. Using a fine grater, zest about 2/3 of the grapefruit. Set aside.
Juice the grapefruit (cut in half and squeeze!). Place the juices in a small saucepan and heat over medium. Boil the juices down until about 3 TBSP remain. Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl.
Add the grapefruit zest to the warm juices and slowly whisk in the mustard. Drain the shallots, discarding the vinegar, and add shallots to the grapefruit mixture. Slowly, 1 TBSP at a time, whisk in the oil. Season with S&P, taste and adjust seasonings (you may need a pinch of sugar to balance it out – just depends on the sweetness level of your grapefruit).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and then add the asparagus and cook until tender-crisp (around 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus).
Drain asparagus and immediately rinse with cold water to set the color and stop the cooking. Pat the asparagus dry with paper towel and place on a platter.
Spoon the dressing over the warm asparagus and grate fresh parmesan on-top!
Recipe Adapted From Laura Calder – French Food at Home