The asparagus is here, finally–I am so happy to be trading in kale and collards for some sweet tender asparagus. I adore asparagus just about any way it’s cooked. Steamed or roasted, asparagus needs little and is divine naked. But asparagus dresses up nicely as well. A little brown butter and a poached egg? Yum. Or with morels? Even better.
I had some wild morels over the weekend and tossed them in with some sauteed asparagus, and it was simple and fabulous. But I only had a few and I wanted more the following evening. So I brought out a bag of dried morels in the cabinet and turned to Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka for a twist on her recipe for Asparagus with Morels. It’s a very delicious dish, I think you’ll agree.
2 ounces dried morels
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound medium asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a small saucepan, reduce vegetable stock to 1/2 cup.
2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add morels, let boil for a minute, then remove from heat and let morels soak for 20 minutes. Drain and save the liquid.
3. Strain morel liquid through a fine strainer and pour into a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat until liquid has reduced to one cup. If it looks gritty, strain it through a coffee filter.
4. Cut the morels into 1-inch pieces and rinse.
5. Heat the oil in a saute pan and add asparagus. Cook for one minute over high heat. Turn heat down to medium and add half of the morel liquid, and continue cooking for two minutes.
6. Add the morels and tarragon. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth and add to the pan and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the remaining morel liquid and vegetable stock and cook until asparagus is tender and the sauce is shiny.