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An appetizing first course from the flavor center of the universe, Louisiana. This recipe strikes a perfect balance between very plain and very fancy asparagus dishes. Courtesy of Joel de Bourgonnier of Honfleur, featured in The Louisiana New Garde television series.
- 4 shallots, minced
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, plus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 tomatoes, peeled
- 3⁄4 cup v 8 vegetable juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- salt (to taste)
- black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)
- 1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1⁄2 lbs asparagus, blanched
- chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
- green onions or scallion, minced
- basil leaves, for garnish
- In a skillet, saute the shallots and garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for about two minutes or so.
- Quarter 3 of the tomatoes and add to the saute pan along with the juice, parsley and basil.
- Season to taste and cook for about five minutes or until heated through.
- Whirl in food processor or blender.
- Pour wine into saute pan and stir over medium heat to deglaze.
- Add this liquid to the blender and whirl.
- Add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil slowly and process for two minutes.
- In a large saute pan, saute the asparagus in butter until tender crisp.
- To serve, cover the bottom of four salad plates with pureed mixture; arrange five asparagus in a fan shape over the top.
- Mince the remaining tomatoes and arrange equal portions at the base of the asparagus.
- Garnish as desired with chives, scallions and basil leaves.