Landmark Asparagus, or How I Learned to Love Green Vegetables

By • May 11, 2011 • 26 Comments



Author Notes: I used to hate green vegetables. Nearly every night featured some kind of pitched battle between the Kid and Peas. Or the Kid and Green Beans. Or Broccoli. And let's not even talk about Spinach. Looking back, I realize the reason for that was that my family used to boil everything to death. And then mash it. Usually with margarine. About the only green vegetable I would eat were lima beans, primarily to annoy my mother, who despised them. Anyway, one evening she came home with a recipe for asparagus given to her by the nice lady around the corner who went to the same hairdresser. Vegetables and I have gotten along famously ever since. To the best of my recollection (with a garnish or two added) here's that landmark recipe.wssmom

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, woody ends snapped off, reserving two tips for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
  1. Drop the asparagus into a pan of rapidly boiling salted water and cook for four minutes, or until crisp-tender. or tender-crisp. Remove and let dry on a rack over a layer of paper towels. Come to think of it, you could probably just dry them on the paper towels.
  2. While the asparagus is cooking, put the butter in a small pan, turn up the heat and let it get really brown, almost black.
  3. While the butter is browning, mince the two reserved tips of the asparagus and set aside with the minced red bell pepper.
  4. Put the asparagus in a serving dish, pour the browned butter over it, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, strew the egg artfully about, garnish with the minced asparagus and red bell pepper and serve forth.
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Comments (26) Questions (0)

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about 3 years ago Sagegreen

Great story. Love your recipe. I am the sole lover of lima beans in my family btw.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Great minds think alike!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 3 years ago lapadia

Love asparagus cooked any way as long as it is not boiled to death...I can totally relate to your story!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Green beans, peas, asparagus, remember that overcooked, army green color? Love your new photo, lapadia!

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 3 years ago lapadia

Last year's chives gone to flower...from my patio.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Oh, my last year's chives are gorgeous, too!!!

Mrs._larkin_370

about 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Sounds lovely! Your recipe writing rocks, wssmom! This brings back memories...my house had the big tubs of margarine - the greatest thing since sliced Wonderbread - and the big block of Velveeta.... :)

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

OMG Velveeta! I haven't thought about Velveeta in a looooooong time! Hahahaha, thanks for reminding me!

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about 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Isn't everything better with browned butter? When I was growing up, margarine was practically a food group. My mother still thinks it's healthier than butter...go figure.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

I could easily pour browned butter over everything, except maybe salami. Or salsa.

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

You are funny!! - Love this!!

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks, Tiggybee!!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is skating very close to a Recipe You Want to be Remembered For!

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

It certainly was a game-changer!!

Gator_cake

about 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Love your story, and the browned butter.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Thanks, HLA!!

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about 3 years ago Midge

Hilarious. I was right there with you all. And margarine, how could our moms have gone for that stuff?

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

My mom swears that during WWII, when butter was rationed, they sold white oleo with a little packet of dried yellow food coloring that they used to mix in to make it look like butter .... eeesh!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My mother used to tell the same story. I think I remember her explaining that it was called Oleo, because until the color could be added, it couldn't technically be called margarine. Imagine splitting hairs over that.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

Did you know that margarine is the only commonly-used word in the English language that has a soft "g" sound without the letter being followed by E, I, or Y? Just passing it on.... :)

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Note to self.

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about 3 years ago TiggyBee

Soft *g* in margarine, there's a new sheriff in town. Goes by the name Ginormous! :)

Dscn3274

about 3 years ago inpatskitchen

I'm with you wssmom....my Mom used to open up cans...Canned asparagus? Yuch!! This is beautiful!

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

And who could ever forget Veg-all? Lol!

Dscn2212

about 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oooh, love the colors. And the Parm. Most of all your story. Margarine! I swear we were weaned on it.

Me

about 3 years ago wssmom

The best thing about spring is that you can get great asparagus even in your local supermarket!