Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sauteed Asparagus with Gruyere Cream Sauce

I know, I know.  You're thinking "what's with all the cream sauces, Megan??"  It's just so easy to make and it's SO. GOOD!  Especially when you add CHEESE to it!  Mmmm....  Trust me.  Once you make a cream sauce, you'll want to top it on everything too!!  And mixing up the types of cheese you add to it completely changes the flavor depending on what you're making!  It's like creamy, cheesy magic for your food.  Cream sauce aside, this is my 4th entry in the Away from Home cooking contest; I'm trying hard to at least get in the Top 50!  I made this for a "Celebration Dinner" for my parents to celebrate my Mom's birthday and belated Father's Day.  I asked my Dad what his favorite foods were and he mentioned asparagus as I decided to try and "amp it up" from your regular asparagus...and it worked!  I actually wasn't even intending on entering this one in the contest, but my parents (and I) raved about it and loved it so much- and it fit all the rules for the contest- I figured that I may as well!  If you want a "fancy" take on asparagus, without much effort, this is it!  The Gruyere cheese in the cream sauce is the perfect pairing with the asparagus.  I know Gruyere can be pricier, but I promise it's worth it!!  I actually got my block of Gruyere at Trader Joe's, and it was cheaper than anywhere else...only about $5- not bad if you ask me!  So, if you've got a Trader Joe's in your area, I'd recommend buying it from there (and pick up a few bottles of Two Buck Chuck while your at it- amazing stuff!).  Once again, the small effort of actually shredding the cheese with a grater by hand really makes a difference!  Don't buy the bagged stuff.  Please.  I paired this dish with trout, which also made an excellent pairing.  But this would really be a great side for most any meat- steak, fish, chicken, pork...there's really no meat it wouldn't be good with (in my opinion!).  The key to making the asparagus the perfect tenderness is to parboil them (boiling for a short amount of time) and then immediately placing them in an ice bath (bowl of ice with cold water) so that it shocks them and stops the cooking process until you're ready to sauté them.  Since they've already been parboiled, you don't sauté them very long either.  Another trick- when removing the woody ends of the asparagus, just hold it at the top and the bottom and lightly bend it, wherever it naturally bends is what you want to snap off.  Easy peasy!  So, if you're an asparagus lover, give this a try and you just might fall in love with asparagus even more!  And if you're NOT an asparagus lover, try this with LOTS of the cream sauce (try it with lots of it even if you DO love asparagus) might discover a new love for asparagus (or at least like it a little bit more...).  Enjoy!

Sauteed Asparagus with Gruyere Cream Sauce
Yield: 2 servings
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, rinsed and woody ends removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (plus 1/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, diced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup freshly shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Fill a medium pot half full of water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Prepare and ice bath: add cold water to a medium bowl of ice (bowl should be large enough to hold asparagus once cooked), and set aside.  Add asparagus to boiling water and bring water back to a boil.  Once boiling, boil asparagus for 2 minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water, and immediately transfer to the ice bath.  Set aside.
  2. Mix cream, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in small sauce pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (approximately 4 minutes).  Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted.
  3. While cooking cream sauce, heat oil in a sauté pan.  Drain asparagus from the ice bath and add to the hot pan.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.  Sauté for approximately 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and top with cream sauce.

Bon Appetit,

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