The Literate Chef

Posts Tagged ‘Asparagus’

The Red, The White, The Green and The Yellow

In General Articles, Recipes, Seafood, Vegetables on July 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Quick, Colorful, Delicious and Healthful

Quick, Colorful, Delicious and Healthful

A quick summer meal in vibrant colors of green, white and yellow and red – Sautéed Scallops, Sautéed Asparagus and Corn on the Cob. What could be wrong with that combination? Absolutely nothing. It is delicious, nutritious, easy to prepare, cooks quickly and looks beautiful. That was dinner for two, one blisteringly hot and humid night last week. But with double the ingredients, it could easily become an elegant meal for guests, as long as they don’t have a shellfish allergy.

A visit that day to our local fishmonger revealed beautiful sea scallops, not the little bay scallops, which shouldn’t be sautéed because they don’t stand up very well to high heat. These scallops were fresh, sweet and had no off-putting odor. Sprinkled with paprika and quickly sautéed in butter and served with a light sauce of pan juices, deglazed with white wine, they were heavenly. The asparagus were first steamed, then quickly sautéed in garlic and oil. All while the corn cobs rested quietly in a pot of previously boiled and lightly salted water.

Dinner was ready in about 20 minutes.


For the scallops:
1 lb. sea scallops
2 Tbsps. unsalted butter
2 Tbsps. Hot Hungarian Paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine and 3 Tbsps. heavy cream

For the asparagus:
1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 Tbsps. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

For the corn:
2 ears of corn, shucked
1 Tsp. Kosher salt


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. When it begins to boil, stir in the salt, add the corn, shut the heat and let the corn sit in the boiled water until ready to serve. This technique cooks the corn, but does not overcook it.
2. Dry the scallops with paper toweling and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the paprika.
3. Quickly steam the asparagus, when they turn bright green remove from the pot and set aside.
4. Heat a non-stick pan on high, gently add the olive oil, when shimmering add the garlic and stir. Add the asparagus and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes retaining their bright green color. Keep warm.
5. Heat a non-stick skillet large enough to hold the scallops without overcrowding. When hot, add the butter. Just before the butter begins to brown, add the scallops, paprika-coated side down and sprinkle the tops with the remaining paprika.
6. Sauté the scallops for about two minutes, until lightly browned, turn and repeat. When cooked to your liking, (I prefer them slightly undercooked) add the wine, bring to a boil and let scallops cook  for 30 seconds more. Remove the scallops and set aside. Reduce the pan juices until by half, stir in the cream, let heat for 15 seconds.
7. Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve all immediately.

Serve with a chilled crisp Albariño or a Rosé and beat the heat.


Dorothea’s Asparagus Tips

In Recipes, Vegetables on December 28, 2011 at 3:09 PM

Preparation time 10 minutes, cooking time 13 minutes, serves 6 to 8


2 lbs. asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/8 lb. unsalted butter cut into thin slices
½ cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Steam the asparagus for three minutes.
3.    Drain the asparagus and arrange them on a rimmed cookie sheet.
4.    Cover the asparagus with the butter slices, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over them and lastly sprinkle the cheese on top of all.
5.    Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Steak au Poivre

In Beef, Meat, Recipes on May 23, 2011 at 7:26 AM

(Adapted from the New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne)

This dish cooks very quickly, in less than 15 minutes and requires constant attention; therefore it makes sense to have all of the ingredients measured out and readily at hand before beginning to cook. DON’T FORGET THE MATCHES – PREFERABLY LONG FIREPLACE MATCHES.Use a heavy, cast iron frying pan for up to three steaks; cooking four will most likely require two pans, making it necessary to divide the other ingredients accordingly. This preparation also produces a lot of smoke so be forewarned.

Have Everything Ready


•    1 boneless shell steak per person, each about 1¼ inch thick, excess fat trimmed
•    Freshly ground black pepper
•    Kosher salt
•    1 pat of unsalted butter per steak + 1 extra pat for the sauce
•    Tabasco Sauce
•    Worcestershire Sauce
•    2 Tablespoons of ReaLemon juice per steak
•    ¼ cup of cognac (for 1 to 3 shell steaks; increase to 1/3 cup if preparing 4 steaks)
•    1/3 cup of heavy cream (for 1 to 3 shell steaks; increase to 1/2 cup if preparing 4 steaks)


The following instructions are for medium rare steaks. If the steaks are of a different thickness than 1¼ inches, or are to be served other than medium rare, cooking time should be adjusted accordingly.

1.    At least 30 minutes prior to cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and pat them dry with paper towels to remove any moisture. Pepper them liberally with freshly ground black pepper.  Softly press the pepper into the steaks with a wooden mallet or spoon and let them sit at room temperature until ready to cook.
2.    Heat the cast iron frying pan on high for 2 minutes.
3.    Lightly cover the bottom of the pan with kosher salt and heat for another full minute.
4.    Add the steaks to the pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side.


Searing the Steaks

5.    Lower heat to medium, continue cooking the steaks for an additional 6 minutes for medium rare (4 minutes for rare), turning them in approximate one-minute intervals.
6.    After the 10 minutes, (or 8 minutes for rare) place one pat of butter on each steak, spread the butter around with a fork in order to melt it into the steaks. After 30 seconds, turn the steaks and cook for another 30 seconds. By this point the steaks will have cooked for about 11 minutes (9 minutes for rare).
7.    Sprinkle each steak with 4 shakes each of Tabasco Sauce and Worcestershire Sauce turn the Steaks and repeat the process. Add 2 tablespoons of the ReaLemon juice per steak and continue cooking and turning the steaks for no more than 1 minute.
8.    Shut the heat, add the cognac and let sit for about 5 seconds; stand back and ignite the cognac with the fireplace match. (Note: This will produce a high blast of flame, so be sure that no curtains, towels, rags or other combustibles are nearby and if you have the vent fan on, shut it first). When the flame subsides, turn the heat to high again and turn the steaks once or twice to coat them well with the sauce, transfer the steaks to warmed plates and shut the heat. By this point the steaks will have been cooked for 13 minutes (for rare steaks, about 11 minutes).

Flambe with Cognac

9.    Add the cream to the pan, turn the heat to medium and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula. Add one pat of butter; continue stirring, scraping, and cooking the sauce until it bubbles and turns a medium to dark caramel color.

How the cream should look

10. When the sauce thickens to the point of coating the back of a spoon, remove it from the heat and pour equally over each steak.

The Finished Product

Serve at once. Great accompaniments include Broccoli Florets or Asparagus sautéed in garlic and oil, a loaf of crusty French bread to sop up the remaining sauce and a bottle of fine Bordeaux, such as a Saint-Emilion.

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