Thursday, March 31, 2011

Asparagus with Crispy-Fried Shallots and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

Despite cold temperatures hovering around 30 degrees outside, it is officially spring and asparagus, one of this season's garden glories is being harvested right now. I relish this time of year, mostly because it marks the beginning of a long food harvest full of fresh ingredients I love to prepare and eat.

I typically don't adorn fresh asparagus spears, with a lot of other ingredients, rather I allow the flavor to stand on their own, but the other night I prepared this and served it with lamb chops. Fork tender spears were the perfect compliment for the crispy-fried shallots and the carrot disks added a beautiful contrasting color.

If you're not a fan of lamb, this would be a lovely springtime side dish to accompany fish or chicken.

Helpful to know: Asparagus stalks should be rounded; look for firm stems with deep green or purplish closed tips. The thickness of asparagus spears is a matter of preference and will determine the amount of cooking time; I prefer medium size spears. Use asparagus within 1-2 days of purchasing.

Asparagus with Crispy-Fried Shallots and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons butter

1 small shallot, (about ¼ cup) thinly sliced

¼ cup breadcrumbs

1 bunch asparagus spears, cooked until fork tender

1 cup carrot disks, cooked until tender

In a medium skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Saute shallots until tender, add breadcrumbs and cook stirring constantly, cook until chestnut brown. Evenly distribute shallot/breadcrumb mixture and carrots over asparagus spears. Yield: 4 servings.