While the news from asparagus growers in the northeast might be grim, the forecast is sunny for asparagus farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The glory of the green stems was on full view at the recent 29th Annual Stockton Asparagus Festival.
The festival celebrates all things asparagus from the educational (growing beds and long handled harvesting knives) to the gustatory (asparagus ice cream anyone?) to the entertaining. Highly entertaining.
The International Deep Fried Asparagus Eating Contest was a marvel of competitive face-stuffing. That is the literal description: entrants grabbed bunches of the fried stalks with both hands and shoved them down, barely chewing, much like seals scarfing down whole fish. Nearly painful to watch — which is part of the fun.
Other asparagus delicacies offered included Asparagus Burritos, U.S.S. Aspar-O-Sub and Asparagus Steak sandwiches, Filipino Asparagus Lumpia, Asparagus Pasta, and for those who dared, Aspara-Ritas. The official festival cookbook includes recipes for every type of Asparagus Surprise, Souffle, Royale and Supreme imaginable.
But not Asparagus and Salmon Penne. This is one of my go-to pastas, delicious and different as only vintage Good Housekeeping recipes can be.
1 lb. wild or organic salmon filet, skin removed
1 lb. fresh, thin asparagus
2 large shallots, minced
3 T. fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 c. good Parmigiano cheese, grated
1 lb. penne pasta
1. Wash and trim the asparagus. Cut into lengths the size of the penne.
2. Slice the salmon into pieces roughly the size of the penne.
3. Slick a large saute pan with 1/4 c. olive oil. Heat to medium and saute the minced shallot for a couple minutes, until it softens pales in color. Add the cut asparagus spears and saute, with the shallots until al dente, about five minutes. Add more oil if needed if the pan seems dry. The asparagus should we well covered in oil to cook evenly. Stir to keep the shallot from burning.
4. When the asparagus in barely tender add the salmon pieces. Stir gently and cook for two minutes, until the outside of the salmon is pink. Remove the pan from the heat. NOTE: The salmon will continue to cook in the hot pan and then will finish cooking in the final steps.
5. Sprinkle the tarragon over the asparagus mixture.
6. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the penne for the recommended time on the package. Drain and let sit aside while the asparagus and salmon heat up.
7. Return the asparagus pan to the stove and heat it up thoroughly over medium-high heat. Add the drained penne and continue to cook, fold the pasta into the asparagus and salmon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for three minutes.
8. Put the pasta onto a platter or in serving dishes, spoon the grated cheese over the top. Garnish with a few tarragon sprigs.
Enjoy!Print This Post