The Ides of March are behind us, thank goodness. Why thank goodness? The Ides (March 15), is considered malevolent by some, a reference to Julius Cesar’s upending his countrypeople’s festive schedule by switching the new year to January instead of March. They never forgave him. He didn’t touch Easter (whew), which is before us, announcing a season alive with new life!
Asparagus, Only Asparagus
At the market this means one thing, and one thing only: asparagus. Stalks from Provence are in our Parisian markets and priced about the same as the Hope diamond. In a few weeks the Loire Valley will kick in with its fat white and green versions, and then asparagus will be a daily dish. Asparagus season officially ends June 24, so it pays to make hay (asparagus) while the sun shines!
So What IS New At the Market?
Other new things at the market? Fresh garlic from Egypt and soon from Provence; avocados from Spain; thin little leeks intended for planting, but which can easily be transformed into a salad; morel mushrooms and juicy, new onions. These, though, are detail ingredients and not the stuff of main courses We still must wait for true seasonal transformation; things always happen more slowly than we want them to in spring.
Our Youtube Videos
Which is why our Youtube videos are featuring dishes that bridge the seasonal gap, like a scrumptious vegetable soup (Potage), a silken Soupe Bonne Femme that will surprise you, Melt-in-the-Mouth Artichokes and more. Each recipe will help us get through this season, when are hearts are flying into warm weather, and the weather itself is yet firm on its chilly winter haunches.
New Project/Live Classes/Plat du Jour
We’re working on a new project at Dancing Tomatoes – you’ll be the first to know when it is ready. Meanwhile, we want you to join us for Live Classes. You can try it for a month, risk free, or join our happy group for longer. We’d love to have you. And Plat du Jour makes a great gift any time of year – consider adding it to the Easter basket of your loved ones! And speaking of Easter, give this lovely recipe a try when asparagus hits your market!
BRAISED GREEN ASPARAGUS WITH HERBS - ASPERGES VERTES BRAISEES AUX AROMATES
- 2 pounds; 1kg green asparagus
- 2 tablespoons;30ml extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup;125ml water
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Chive blossoms - optional garnish
- Sort the asparagus by thickness.
- Place the olive oil, the water, and the herbs in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the thickest asparagus pieces first. Turn the asparagus so it is coated with the oil and water mixture and when the water and oil come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook the asparagus until it begins to turn tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the thinner asparagus stalks, toss and stir gently so they are coated with the water and oil, then continue to cook until all of the asparagus is tender, an additional 3 minutes.
- When the asparagus is nearly tender through, remove the cover and cook it, shaking the pan and stirring it, until any liquid in the pan evaporates.
- Remove the asparagus from the heat, and serve immediately.
- 4 to 6 servings