Thursday, June 9, 2016

Asparagus, Abell 2497, Black Holes

Denise of My Life in Retirement posted a picture of asparagus being sold in a European market. Not sure if it was in Holland or Belgium, but the price shown for green asparagus was €6 for 500 grams that converts to $8.68 Canadian for roughly 1 lb. The white asparagus was almost half that price. But in both cases more than I pay and for the green a heck of a lot more than I pay. I don't think I could afford to eat it at that price. I have only ever tried white asparagus once and didn't find it particularly enjoyable - much prefer the green. Although it is the same plant, they just cover it so it doesn't see the sun, the green (chlorophyll?) makes one heck of a difference in the taste. However, there are many people, particularly in Europe, that disagree with me. I understand they always serve it with a sauce whereas, in my opinion, the fresh green asparagus is fine without anything.

I just came across an article about black holes which basically states that they are not "dining" on hot
plasma as assumed but "cold clumpy clouds of gas" so that scientists will now have to revise their thinking about black holes. They have been observing Abell 2497 which is the brightest cluster galaxy and is, apparently, absolutely huge, as in ginormous. It is 1.2 billion light years away and 300,000 light years across. Canadian astronomers have been paying particular attention to this galaxy and it's black hole studying it with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile. It is theoretically visible from Canada, but you would need a real powerful telescope to see it. Coincidence the name of the galaxy is Abell, the name of the pest control people who have been working here is also Abel. Slightly different, but what the L. (Sorry). Anyway, if you are interested, it is fascinating reading.

This is more of a chicken recipe than asparagus, but it includes it so...

Chicken and Asparagus with Melted Gruyere

For this elegant dish, boneless chicken breast and asparagus are smothered in a luxurious white-wine sauce with just the right amount of melted Gruyère cheese. Tarragon and lemon add a delicious light flavor that is perfect with asparagus.

8 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover, remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Whisk broth and 2 teaspoons flour in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour, shaking off any excess.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

5. Add shallot, wine and the reserved broth mixture to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in sour cream, tarragon, lemon juice and the reserved asparagus until combined. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of chicken, cover and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Servings: 4

Have a great day
 

18 comments:

  1. Hi Jo - thanks for posting the white asparagus - it's good to have a photo ... the chicken and gruyere with asparagus sounds very good - cheers Hilary

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    1. Is it available in the UK Hilary? I don't remember seeing it when I lived there.

      Yes, I like the sound of this recipe, might try it this weekend.

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  2. Actually, the market was in Trier, Germany. I would not be eating asparagus at that price either. That recipe looks good. I have some asparagus in the fridge I need to cook.

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    1. I believe the Germans eat a lot of white asparagus from what I am told Denise. Going to try the chicken this weekend I think.

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  3. I've never seen white asparagus before.

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    1. Nor had I until a few years ago Alex. It is very popular in Germany. My local grocery store sells it now and again. We have a very high German population in this town so that is probably why. As I said, tried it once, was not enamoured.

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  4. $8 a pound?! No thanks!

    That recipe looks yummy. :)

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    1. Europe is pretty expensive Melissa.

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  5. That's incredibly expensive for asparagus. Thank goodness it isn't that much here given it's my favourite vegetable.

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    1. I know what you mean Helen. The amount of asparagus I eat in season we would be flat broke.

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  6. I didn't know the difference between white and green asparagus; thanks for explaining it. I've only had it once I think (the white). It must have not been that memorable of a taste.

    betty

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    1. I certainly didn't think it was all that marvelous Betty but many people seem to prefer it to the green. No idea why.

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  7. I think I paid $3.99 for asparagus yesterday. I've never had the white kind...they look too much like some kind of weird mushroom/fungi. Recipe looks amazing though. Gruyere is expensive too.

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    1. They do JoJo, never thought of that. Damn, I knew there was something I meant to get, some Gruyere.

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  8. Either asparagus is just not appealing to me:) the picture of that Galaxy/black hole is neat but I always feel real dumb when it comes to this stuff unless it is spoken in Star Trek lingo

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    1. Stephen Tremp is the expert on space stuff in my blogging world anyway. I think it's fascinating stuff. Sorry you don't like asparagus Birgit. It's a very healthy food apart from, IMHOP, being delicious.

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  9. I haven't seen the white in my area but there was New York grown purple. It was organic but was too wrinkle-like and wow, on the cost. Anyway, the other day, I bought more Canada asparagus. Had it for breafast today with sweet potatoes.

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    1. Never seen or tried the purple. Funny what you have for breakfast, I understand why, but it just sounds so different.

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