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Herb Blanched Asparagus with Heirloom Tomato and Balsamic Kumquat Reduction

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asparagus
This is another simply gourmet dish that is perfect as an accompaniment to fish, pork, chicken or meat. It is a beautiful side dish or may be added to any mixed greens to make a sophisticated vegetarian entrée. If you have never used kumquats, don’t be afraid to work with them. They have a mild citrus flavor, not too sweet or bitter and give any dish, cooked or raw, a zip. They make a delicious compote or chutney. Their sweetness is intensified when caramelized and their bitterness is softened. Kumquats are available October through June.
fresh asparagus, trimmed 1 lb
fresh fine chopped rosemary 1 teaspoon
whole Italian (broad leaf) parsley 2 sprigs
fresh fine chopped oregano 1 teaspoon
large heirloom tomatoes 2
sliced kumquat 1/2 cup
raw sugar (white sugar may be substituted) 1 teaspoon
shallot fine chopped 1
champagne vinegar (white wine vinegar may be substituted) 1 tablespoon
good balsamic vinegar 1 cup
extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon
Garnish: sweet red pepper, julienned (slice like thin matchstick)
  1. In a sauce pan, bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil. Add rosemary, parsley, oregano and asparagus. Cover with lid askew and blanch for 2 minutes or until slightly tender and the color is deep bright green. While asparagus is blanching, prepare ice bath. Place 15 or so ice cubes and water in a dish big enough to hold the asparagus. When asparagus is done, immediately drain off water and submerge in bath to stop the cooking process. When completely cooled, pat dry on a paper towel and set aside.
  2. Place sliced kumquats in a sauce pan with butter over medium heat. Coat evenly with butter and add sugar. Let sugar caramelize until lightly brown. Add shallots and champagne vinegar and reduce until nearly dry. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce over medium high heat until reduce by half, about 10 minutes.
  3. Slice tomatoes and fan on the center of your serving plate in a circle. Nest (loosely stacked) asparagus spears in the center and drizzle with reduction. Garnish with julienne sweet peppers and drizzle with olive oil. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Tips

    • Serve warm or room temperature
    • Serving this dish chilled hides the flavors

 

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