Thursday, July 16, 2009
Asparagus and NCIS – Perfect Together
Asparagus season is about over, so I’m trying to figure out how many times I can serve them to my husband in the span of a week, without generating a mutiny. Most of what I see in the grocery store are those microthin spears, and although I much prefer the heftier stalks, I’ll take whatever size shows up.
My fondness for asparagus blossomed once I learned that you could scrape off the tough skin with a peeler before cooking them. It’s a laborious process, but it turns out the USA channel carries re-runs of NCIS for three hours, starting at 4pm (CST), so I now save my time-consuming kitchen tasks for the period between 4pm and 7. I’ve seen all the episodes several times, so if I miss something, it’s not a problem. And on those rare occasions when they surprise me with an episode I haven’t seen, well, then, dinner will be just a bit late. It’s not that the story lines are so endlessly fascinating. No, I think it has more to do with the camaraderie among the cast – it reminds me of my days on Wall Street, where I worked in research with a bunch of really smart people. Part of the fun of going to work – and I did love my job – was being surrounded by smart, creative people who talked to each other, bounced ideas off each other, and occasionally goofed off together. So when I turn on NCIS, Tony is always flirting or making jokes, Abby is always doing something cool in the lab, and Gibbs is always being Gibbs. We’re all together in my kitchen, and everyone is busy.
Back to the asparagus, I’ve roasted them three times in the past ten days – brushed them with my best olive oil, sprinkled on a bit of tangy balsamic vinegar, and finished with a dusting of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Then 15-20 minutes at 400º, and they’re done. Winner, winner, lobster dinner, as my kids used to say. No lobster last night – we grilled giant shrimp instead, marinated in a lime vinaigrette.
I made a double batch of those green lovelies, and am still trying to figure out whether to chop up the leftovers and mix them with some pasta, or just eat them cold with my fingers as I figure out what else to make for lunch.