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Martha's White Asparagus with Orange Butter

MyCookbook Recipe Database
MyCookbook Member: MSL
Recipe Category: Side Dish
Recipe Preparation Level: easy
    White asparagus, which is grown without sunlight to keep it from becoming green, is the preferred form for the vegetable in Europe. This recipe makes an excellent first course, with the mildly nutty flavor of the asparagus pleasantly offset by the fresh citrus.

    SERVES 4

    6 large oranges
    2 pounds white asparagus, trimmed and peeled
    2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
    4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Leaves from 4 stems tarragon

    1. Juice five oranges over a sieve, about 1 1/2 cups. Zest one orange. Using a paring knife, remove the skin, pith, and outer membrane from the remaining orange. Carefully cut each segment away from white membranes. This is called supreming the orange. Set segments aside.

    2. Place the asparagus in a large sauté pan. Add 1/2 inch of water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, and steam to tenderize, about 8 minutes. Just before the asparagus are fully cooked, drain the liquid from the sauté pan. Add 1/4 cup orange juice, and simmer until the asparagus are fork tender. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Cover, and steam while finishing the sauce.

    3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring 1 1/4 cups orange juice to a boil. Add the vinegar, lower the heat, and simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup. Remove from heat, and stir in butter, one piece at a time, until sauce is thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the asparagus to a warm platter, drizzle with sauce, and garnish with reserved orange segments, zest, and tarragon.

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