Which is just as good, because it's really delicious braised asparagus. Look how tender and bendy the spears got in the wine and chicken stock. But it's not a bland dish, what with the Dijon mustard and thyme. The one limitation of this recipe is that it doesn't make more, and that is really the fault of my pan, not the recipe.
I picked up two sizes of asparagus at the market - both sizes can be tender, but supposedly the thicker stems handle stirring better. The farmer suggested that they're also better for grilling. The thinner stems were a good match for a stir fry with crispy garlic, also from the book, also a hit.
I cut the thicker bunch uniformly in size, and followed Sue's suggestion to cut on an angle for better presentation. I will assume that you are impressed.
Mine all lined up in rows when I wasn't paying attention. Does this sort of thing happen to anyone else?
I cut all these, but once I tried to fit all of these in a single layer on the bottom of my largest pan, I realized why the recipe calls for a small quantity of asparagus. You want all of the pieces to touch the bottom for browning, so that they will be covered by the minimal liquid. Not all of these pieces made it into the pan. I boiled them and swirled them in the leftover sauce, but it just wasn't the same. It may be worth washing the pan and making the recipe again, right away.
This was a perfect Saturday breakfast with fried eggs from the farmer's market.
Quick-Braised Asparagus with Dijon, White Wine, and Fresh Thyme Pan Sauce
from Susie Middleton's Fresh, Fast and Green
1/4 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. dry white wine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
About 10 oz of medium-thick asparagus, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. roughly chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1. Heat the olive oil and half of the butter in a saute pan over medium. (You'll want a pan with a lid.) When the butter is melted, add the asparagus and salt, and stir to coat the asparagus. Make sure the asparagus is arranged in a single layer and then allow it to cook, without stirring, until the bottom is browned. After about four minutes, turn the spears to cook the other side for about two minutes. (Tongs will make this easier!)
2. Carefully pour in the chicken broth and wine, and put the cover on immediately to capture the steam. Simmer about two minutes, until the liquid is almost cooked away. Take the pan off the heat and add the remaining butter, thyme and mustard, stirring gently.
This is the eighth fabulous recipe I've made from Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton, a cookbook so awesome that I am cooking my way through all the recipes. Sue's online home is Six Burner Sue, where you can find her hard at work running a vegetable farm on Martha's Vineyard and developing recipes for a second cookbook that will be called Fresh & Green for Dinner.