This starter of fresh asparagus, radishes, spring onion and white endive is inspired by an article on then 16 year old chef, Macklin Casnoff. It was published in the blog Eat Drink + Be Merry.
The picture from the article that inspired this recipe offers some pretty clear clues and leaves a little room for interpretation. The asparagus is roasted. It looks like a layer of spring onion is used. The radishes are cut very thin. I think the asparagus is arranged on white endive. Roasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds or black pepper are sprinkled over the plate. I’m going with dark roasted sesame seeds.
The dressing includes yogurt, lemon and honey. For my taste, the dressing needed a bit more. I added a bit of extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, sea salt and ground pepper.
Another inspiration for this dish was a recipe for roasted asparagus from Alton Brown’s “ Good Eats” which I happened upon this morning before leaving for work. Alton’s recipe seasons the asparagus with salt, lemon zest and grated nutmeg. My only departure was that I sliced the asparagus in half before roasting. For this reason Alton’s cooking times should be reduced. By the way, the spring onion was roasted with the asparagus.
The asparagus used for this dish was cut the same morning I picked it up at the Calistoga farmer’s market. While many of us, including myself, gravitate to the thinner asparagus spears; the thicker ones are actually sweeter. For this preparation the thick spears should be used since these are cut in half and reduced in size by the roasting process.
The recipe serves two. It can easily be scaled up, or down.
- 6 to 8 spears of asparagus with the woody lower half of the stalk removed and sliced in half lengthwise.
- 1 spring onion trimmed to remove the root end and the green stalks
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- Maldon flaked sea salt to taste
- Lemon zest form ½ lemon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 large radishes sliced thinly lengthwise on a mandoline
- 2 leaves of white endive taken from the interior of the vegetable
- 1 pinch of dark roasted sesame seeds, or to taste.
For the dressing
- Lemon zest from ½ lemon
- Juice from ½ lemon
- ½ teaspoon honey
- ½ cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon of champagne, or white wine vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees
- Line a small sheet pan with aluminum foil. Place the trimmed asparagus and spring onion of the aluminum foil. Coat with olive oil then sprinkle with sea salt, lemon zest and grated nutmeg. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes then turn and cover the asparagus tips with aluminum foil. To do this, just fold over excess foil used to line the pan. Roast 5 more minutes then remove and let cool until ready for use.
- For the dressing, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, yogurt, olive oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and reserve until ready to use.
- Slice the roasted spring onion lengthwise about ½ way through. Remove the outer layer of the spring onion and set aside.
- To serve, arrange the one endive leaf on each plate followed by 6 to 8 asparagus halves. Drizzle with dressing and then arrange the skin of the spring onion and the thinly spliced radishes on top. Sprinkle with black, roasted sesame seeds and drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil over the plate. A light sprinkle of Maldon sea salt can also be added at this time.