Thursday, March 28, 2013

Asparagus Paired With An Exciting New Vinegar - Fig Balsamic



Asparagus is our favorite side dish to serve for Easter. It spells springtime for me and besides, almost everyone loves asparagus. It also holds up well at room temperature on a buffet. Each year I try to find a new asparagus recipe or two to add to my ever growing list of favorites. But this year, instead of finding a new recipe, I found a new ingredient to pair with asparagus and I’m very excited about it.

It’s fig balsamic vinegar. The brand I used was O and it was award the 2012 sofi Gold winner for outstanding vinegar at the Summer International Fancy Food Show. According to O’s website, juicy, ripe California native mission figs are slowly oak aged in Sonoma in O’s California Balsamic vinegar, producing a sweet, rich, dark vinegar. To use their own words, “An elixir worthy of the monks who brought this varietal to coastal California. Delicious with prosciutto and ricotta, brushed over pork loin with fresh thyme, or simply drizzle over fresh organic strawberries or our newest flavor obsession - over vanilla bean ice cream.”  You can also find fig balsamic vinegars on line at Amazon. 

I used the fig balsamic vinegar to make a rich, dark vinaigrette, tossed in some chopped shallots, and served it over crispy poached asparagus at room temperature. Chopped Mission figs can be added to the garnish if you wish for even more fig flavor. My basic vinaigrettes are always three parts oil to one part vinegar or acid. Here is my basic recipe for poached asparagus and the vinaigrette follows.

Grilled asparagus lovers could use their favorite grilled asparagus recipe and then follow the instructions for the vinaigrette.



My Carolina Kitchen’s Basic Recipe for Poached Asparagus
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

1 lb fresh asparagus, tough lower ends snapped off
Water flavored with low sodium, low fat beef broth* to taste
2 teaspoons salt

After tough ends of asparagus have been removed, peel the remaining ends unless the asparagus is thin; if thin, leave as is. Bring water flavored with beef broth and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a shallow pan. Add asparagus, turn heat to low and cook for about 4 minutes until asparagus is crisp tender, taking care not to overcook. Immediately plunge the asparagus in an ice water bath to stop the cooking and retain the green color. After a minute or two, remove the asparagus and dry well with a towel. Dress with a vinaigrette. Then you may either chill it for about an hour, or serve at room temperature. *I like to flavor my asparagus water with beef broth. It isn’t necessary, but it does bring a very nice flavor to the cooking broth.



Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette with Shallots
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

1 tablespoon fig balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons good extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
Maldon sea salt or other good sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped dried Mission figs, optional

Put the vinegar, shallot, olive oil, and sea salt and pepper in a screw top jar with a lid and shake well to mix. Easily doubled or tripled. This also saves well in the refrigerator for a day or two. Toss with poached asparagus and garnish if desired with chopped dried figs. This recipe with the fig vinaigrette is especially good served at room temperature.




My other favorite Easter asparagus dish is Asparagus Mimosa, also known as Asparagus Goldenrod. If you’ve been reading My Carolina Kitchen for a while, you’ll recognize it from Easter’s past. The name Goldenrod comes from the bright green asparagus garnished with yellow egg yolk and Mimosa because the grated hard-boiled eggs resemble mimosa blossoms.  Classic dishes such as this were a mainstay on the menus of the grand hotels in a bygone era. This year I spiffed it up a little and added some chopped radishes to the egg garnish. Prepare the asparagus from the basic recipe above.

You could also grill the asparagus and then follow the vinaigrette & garnish recipe.

My Carolina Kitchen’s Basic French Vinaigrette
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

1 tablespoon good vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ tablespoon finely chopped shallot, optional
½ to 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard to taste
Dash of hot sauce such as Tabasco
Maldon sea salt, or other good sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.  Easily doubled or tripled. This also saves well in the refrigerator for a day or two. Omit the shallot, Dijon mustard, and hot sauce for a more basic vinaigrette. The mustard is used to emulsify the vinaigrette and keeps it from separating and the shallot and hot sauce bring added flavor and are highly recommended.




Asparagus Mimosa, also known as Asparagus Goldenrod
From My Carolina Kitchen – Sam Hoffer

Prepare My Carolina Kitchen’s Basic Recipe for poached asparagus. Dress with My Carolina Kitchen’s Basic French Vinaigrette above, using tarragon vinegar as the vinegar of choice. Garnish with a chopped hard-boiled egg at room temperature and some chopped radishes. I like to serve Asparagus Mimosa slightly chilled.


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This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend everyone.




46 comments:

  1. Looks like a beautiful side dish Sam and an added bonus that it's great at room temperature! Happy Easter:@)

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  2. We are so very close to fresh asparagus around here--well, if our strange weather doesn't change that. I am happy to have these recipes. I'm even happier to have O as a source for us and gifts for other foodie friends. Maybe I'll order the fig balsamic and hope that it and asparagus arrive at the same time.

    Happy Easter!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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  3. Ah, asparagus, it sings of spring!

    Happy Easter to you and yours,
    Merisi

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  4. Dear Sam ~ These recipes sound delicious! My husband loved asparagus vinaigrette, and these versions, especially the fig one sound especially good.

    May you and Meakin have a wonderful Easter.

    FlowerLady

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  5. Hi Sam,
    I just picked up some fig balsamic last week. Lovely stuff!!! I didn't think about using it with asparagus before but I think it is a great idea. I bought some beautiful asparagus yesterday and I think this was meant to be.
    Happy Easter!

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  6. Happy Easter Sam..this is a lovely side dish..I love asparagus..your balsamic fig vinaigrette sounds terrific:)

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  7. I do love asparagus, Sam. You've given us two creative ways to serve it. Both look fabulous!
    Happy Easter!

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  8. That asparagus looks and sounds wonderful Sam. I'm really enjoying these flavored olive oils that we have available to us. Have a great holiday.

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  9. I'm getting so excited about all the fresh asparagus, and I've seen the fig balsamic, but never tried it, thanks for the wonderful inspiration!

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  10. I've been excited about lots of things in my life but I'm pretty sure vinegar has never been one of them (LOL), but I am really pleased to get these recipes and your endorsement. Our asparagus has yet to peek out, but I'm saving every recipe I find in hopes we won't tire of it this year - we get enough to eat every other day.

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  11. Happy Easter to you and Meakin. I love asparagus and will try poaching in the beef broth next time. I think I can buy the fig balsamic in Portland, Maine when we are at the cottage this summer.

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  12. Looks delicious, Sam. Happy Easter and Happy Spring!!

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  13. Love using the Fig vinaigrette and I do have some Fig balsamic vinegar. Not the same brand but I will definitely be using it on my asparagus for Easter.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

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  14. I love O products. Your asparagus looks wonderful. Happy Easter to you both!

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  15. Hello Sam,

    I have to try this, love Asparagus! Thanks for the recipe!

    Gabriela

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  16. Delightful! That vinaigrette must taste really good. A wonderful way of serving asparagus.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  17. oh yum, beautiful and healthy! ~ Paula

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  18. The fig balsamic must be really yum! I bought some berry balsamic last week, and was thinking to get some green asparagus to try too.

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  19. Love asparagus, this looks very tasty. Have a good Easter, Diane

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  20. Looks divine, Sam! Happy Easter!

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  21. Figs and asparagus... wow gotta try this.

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  22. What a beautiful dish for the Easter table, Sam! I love the idea of adding chopped figs to the garnish too. Lovely idea!

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  23. I agree - asparagus is a wonderful Easter side - I've never seen fig balsamic but it sounds wonderful and I can't wait to try it!
    Mary x

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  24. Yes! I always keep a bottle of fig balsamic in my pantry but had never thought of this combination. Happy Easter!

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  25. I can't wait to try these out once I get my hands on some GOOD spring asparagus. Bought a batch 2 weeks ago that was all slimy in the tips.

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  26. I've done the Mimosa and I won't let spring go (when it comes) without doing this fig-balsamic beauty. You do know how to celebrate this wonderful spring vegetable. Happy Easter!

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  27. Hi Sam,
    A Fig Vinaigrette is new to me and I am excited about trying it. Asparagus is such a wonderful spring food and your vinaigrette's will just make these very special dishes.

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

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  28. I love asparagus
    Wishing you & your family a very happy Easter Sam!

    Melissah

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  29. I have fig balsamic in my kitchen, so i look forward to giving this a try. Adore your platter with the gold rim design!
    LL

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  30. wow looks so good loving all the asparagus recipes at the moment, hope your feeling good

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  31. Oh, Sam! That fig balsmic vinaigrette sounds divine! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    I wanted to drop by and wish you two a very Happy Easter. Hope you have a wonderful holiday, and I pray many blessings are yours.

    XO,

    Sheila

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  32. I just love asparagus! The fig balsamic vinaigrette sounds inspired! Today, I had a serving of grilled asparagus at lunch - so, so tasty!

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  33. Asparagus and brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetables. There is something about asparagus in the spring that is really reflective of the season.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Velva

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  34. Had planned asparagus for Easter dinner so I rushed out for ingredients and will make the balsamic and fig to go with the Cornish hens and Ina's mustard new potatoes.

    Oh, I made the Belgium Beer and Onion Braised Beef. It was marvelous and my husband gave it highest praise with, "definitely good enough for company."

    Happy Easter to you and the family.

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  35. oh yay yay yay! Thank you for sharing this on Foodie Friday. We love asparagus, and I'm always trying to find fun new ways to cook and serve it. I almost bought figs for our Easter Dinner, but then I didn't. Wishing I had now.

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  36. luv, luv, luv this! Thanks for sharing. Got you from Simple Living and Eating and Maid it Simple Foodie Friday.

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  37. I am not sure if they still have it but Devo Olive Oil made the best fig balsamic! I used it in everything and I can see how amazing it would be paired with the asparagus. I am going to have to try that soon!

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  38. A few years ago I picked up a bottle of fig balsamic vinegar in San Francisco. I am down to only a few drops so I have better keep my eyes open for this delicious vinegar. Asparagus means that Spring has arrived, and it certainly has with this refreshing dish.

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  39. Great to have you be a part of SEASONAL SUNDAYS!

    - The Tablescaper

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  40. What can I say Sam...love your recipes. Featuring your asparagus today on foodie friday. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  41. Hi Sam! I love beautiful sides dishes and both of these asparagus dishes are company worthy (swoon!). I remember Sur La Table sold a Fig Balsamic at one time. I need to check there. Thanks for sharing two lovely versions of one of my favorite vegetables.

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  42. Hi Sam! What gorgeous presentations the two of you have created! I'm anxious to try some Fig Balsamic vinegar. I've heard lots of rave reviews about it from folks who have visited the new place in town, "Olive My ♥".
    It is a tasting room where you can sample their wares & I guess the Fig Balsamic is a favorite.
    Here is their website...they ship anywhere. http://olivemyheart.com/

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  44. thank you again!!! I am always looking for new asparagus recipes, never considered figs!! this week I used simple olive oil and parmesan cheese, next week figs.

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  45. I just wanted you to know that I included your recipe in a collection of asparagus recipes that is on Simple Living and Eating today. I will be pinning and tweeting it this week too. http://www.simplelivingeating.com/2014/04/asparagus-recipes-seasonal-eating.html

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  46. How did I not only miss this recipe but have never tasted fig balsamic vinegar! Sounds amazing Sam.

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