Sunday, April 8, 2012

A is for Asparagus, B is for Bees

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter. I will be munching a chocolate rabbit in a while. Lindt of course.

This recipe I found at Dragon’s Kitchen and stole it. It comes from one of a series of recipes she has been publishing and which were served on the Titanic. Asparagus season is nearly upon us and this looks delicious. This is one of my make up recipes as I missed A and B in the challenge. My B has turned out to be a dissertation on bees rather than a recipe.

Asparagus Salad with Champagne-Saffron Vinaigrette
Recipe by Dana McCauley

On Titanic's 1st class menu the salad course was served after the roast, not as a side dish. It would have been presented on elongated dishes and served with Asparagus Salad with Champagne Saffron Vinaigrettespecial asparagus tongs. Very posh, no? I adore this vinaigrette and have made it many times, not just with this asparagus dish but, as a dressing for all sorts of salads. It is one of my favourite recipes from the book. Enjoy!

Serves: 6

1 1/2 lbs asparagus
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 sweet red or yellow pepper, finely diced

1. Holding asparagus halfway up stalk, snap off woody ends at the natural breaking point and discard.
2. In a wide, deep skillet or large pot of boiling salted water, cook asparagus for 3 to 5 minutes or until they are tender but not limp.
3. Drain the asparagus and run under cold water until completely cooled; drain well.
4. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir saffron into 1 teaspoon of boiling water; let stand for 2 minutes or until the threads have softened.
5. Stir in champagne vinegar, mustard and sugar. Whisking, drizzle in olive oil.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add asparagus and diced pepper; toss to coat. Serve in individual dishes.

BeeLying in bed the other night, I was thinking about the A to Z challenge and what I was going to write when and then I thought about B and of course Bees. I don’t know if the bee problem is world wide, but I know bees are disappearing in North America which is a major problem for pollination. Not just the pretty flowers in your garden, but crops and fruits cannot be pollinated without bees which have been showing a major decline over the last several years. So the loss of bees will have a devastating effect on our food supply. Some bees have declined by 96 % whilst others ranges have shrunk considerably. Nobody seems to be sure what is doing this although theories about pesticides and other things sprayed (particularly from the air) are thought to be at the root of the problem. Also, it is thought that genetically modified plants produce a pollen which is not so nutritious for bees.

IMAGE: Bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) on Rhododendron in Archbald, PA.; Wikimedia Commons

Hope you are enjoying your weekend



  1. Happy Easter to you too! Your salad dressing sounds delicious but where I can find champagne vinegar? Or maybe I can make one...

  2. A specialty deli should carry it. Or as you say, you can possibly make one.

  3. I didn't know that's how you decide how long or short your asparagus should be. I'll try that the next time I make them. :)

  4. By the way, if you buy your asparagus straight from an asparagus farm as I do in season, you never have to break the ends off. We spend a lot of time at the asparagus farm in roughly the period between Mother's Day and Father's Day often a bit longer, but certainly finishes by July 1.

  5. I have never cooked asparagus before, it is so expensive here and I would be too afraid to mess it up :)

    Greetings from the A to Z trail,
    Sylvia @ Plant-based foodie

    1. where is 'here' Sylvia. Asparagus isn't cheap here either, but not overly expensive for a short season.