Saturday, May 12, 2012

Welcome spring! Asparagus and soft shell crabs

Thursday I cut about a pound of beautiful asparagus growing in my garden.  I chopped tthem up coarsely and boiled them in salted water (to cover) until they were tender, about 5-7 minutes.  When tender, I removed them from the pot and placed them in a blender, along with some of the water to thin it out.  I like salt so I added some, and then about a tablespoon of good olive oil.  That's it.  Three ingredients, four if you count the water, about 12-13 minutes and voila--you have a bowl of the essence of spring.  Inhaling asparagus is invigorating.  And eating the soup is a leisurely delight.  I heartily recommend it.

By the way, the recipe, such as it is, comes from "The Art of Eating," a splendid newsletter that's been published for 25 years by Ed Behr.  It's featured in his new cookbook, "The Best of The Art of Eating." 

Then yesterday I picked up some soft shell crabs at Rubiner's and headed to friends' house where we sauteed them.  Luckily Matt's crew executes the crabs and cleans them, so fixing them couldn't be easier.  I checked out a few cookbooks to see what the pros do, and mostly it's just dipping them into a plate of milk, and then dipping them into some seasoned flour (salt and pepper), and then sauteeing them in a large cast-iron skillet with the right amount of butter and a bit of olive oil.  They need about 4-5 minutes per side.  And that's it.  I mean, what could be easier?  And more delicious! 

Neither the asparagus nor the soft shell crabs will be around after a few more weeks, so I intend to keep making these dishes frequently to get my fill before they disappear again until next year.


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