Cast No Aspersions

When the garden gets going, cooking becomes simpler. It becomes less of a process, and more of a brief intervention with a bit of heat or a nice bright vinaigrette to flatter the plants on their way from soil to plate.

I have a special love for asparagus because it’s the first thing (along with radishes) that comes out of the ground and is not a leaf. A vegetable! Something substantial!

This is just-picked, sautéed with garlic in a little oil until they began to take on some color, then deglazed with say a tablespoon each of sherry and yogurt whey and cooked a bit more until the pan was just about dry. I grated a stale heel of sourdough over the top.

The liquids could be different, and the breadcrumbs could be cheese or bonito flakes or bottarga or shavings of salt-cured egg yolk. They’re all just embellishments, the judicious addition of a little salt, a little acid, a little umami, throwing the details of the main attraction into sharp relief. Three or four different plates like this would make a brilliant dinner, or with an egg and some cured meat it could be a meal by itself. This was just an appetizer.

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Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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