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Absolutely Amazing Asparagus

Issue 118, September 2006

28 August 2006

Absolutely Amazing Asparagus

The latest issue of Cuisine celebrates the arrival of asparagus, the queen of spring vegetables, and a sure sign that warmer weather is on the way.

“Asparagus are to spring what peaches are to summer. These tasty vegetables are a true delicacy – and one of the few that aren’t grown year-round,” says Simon Wilson, Cuisine Editor.

“Spring heralds the arrival of new-season fruits and vegetables, and our new issue suggests to readers many ways to enjoy the sweet, delicate new flavours of this delicious produce.”

Lauraine Jacobs celebrates the asparagus with helpful tips on choosing, preparing and cooking the perfect stalk. Her recipe for grilled asparagus with anchovies and lemon is a simple yet delicious way to savour its unique flavour, while her asparagus, potato and salmon salad shows how to enjoy asparagus in the company of other favourite ingredients.

Ray McVinnie demonstrates that gluten-free ingredients can produce delicious food – and not only for those who are gluten intolerant. His recipes for slow roasted pork hocks, roasted veal racks, poached venison and lamb with millet show how catering for dietary requirements doesn’t have to mean settling for second best.

Pasta and potatoes are the key ingredients in Natalia Schamroth’s take on spring. She shares a selection of recipes that utilise these ever-handy staples while making the most of the fresh flavours of the new season.

Other features in the latest issue of Cuisine include:
 Chef Al Brown, of Wellington restaurant Logan Brown, catches and cooks trout – showcasing recipes that can easily be used for salmon as well.
 Fiona Smith celebrates spring with the fresh tastes of Vietnamese cuisine, using plenty of flavoursome herbs.
 Ruth Pretty takes readers through a shorthand version of a classic Kiwi meal – minted lamb cutlets, herbed potatoes and peas, and finished with strawberry and rhubarb shortcake.

For wine enthusiasts the latest issue includes results from Cuisine’s New Zealand Reds tasting. This is one of the largest tastings and includes the increasingly fashionable Syrah variety and Bordeaux-style reds from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc.

On sale from Monday 28 August, the September issue of Cuisine retails for $8.95 and is available from all good bookstores and supermarkets throughout New Zealand.

The media recipe for issue 118 is the asparagus, potato and salmon salad by Lauraine Jacobs – match it with a tasty Riesling for a terrific spring lunch.

Asparagus, Potato and Salmon Salad by Lauraine Jacobs

The three ingredients in this salad all vie to be the hero: asparagus, new baby potatoes and rich hot-smoked salmon. It’s equally good made ahead, refrigerated and brought back to room temperature for serving.

500g new baby potatoes, scrubbed
300g fresh asparagus, trimmed, peeled and cut into 6cm lengths
2 limes, peeled with a knife and cut into segments
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lime
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 small red chillies, seeded and sliced very finely
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Small pinch of sugar to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
300g hot-smoked salmon (at room temperature), broken into bite-sized chunks
Small bunch chives, cut into 3cm lengths

Simmer the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water until tender. Drain. Meanwhile, plunge the asparagus into another saucepan of simmering salted water. Simmer for 3-4 minutes then drain and refresh under cold running water to retain the bright, green colour. To make the dressing, whisk together the lime juice and zest, olive oil, chillies, mustard and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Place the warm potatoes, asparagus, salmon and lime segments in a serving bowl and toss very gently together with the dressing to coat all the ingredients, taking care not to break up the salmon chunks or damage the asparagus. Scatter the chives over and serve. Serves four.


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