Asparagus Ragout with Cherry Tomatoes and Chervil Beurre Blanc
This recipe makes good use of spring’s fresh white asparagus. Hans Röckenwagner, a German chef based in Los Angeles, shared the recipe with us as part of Lori Zimring De Mori’s feature, “White Asparagus” (April 2000).
Hans Röckenwagner, Los Angeles chef and restrauteur, serves this dish as an appetizer or a side dish.
2 lbs. fresh white asparagus
5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
15 tbsp. butter
1 cup dry white wine
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground white pepper
Dash of Tabasco
3–4 tbsp. fresh chervil leaves
16–20 small red cherry tomatoes
1. Bring 16 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot over high heat. Add 2 generous pinches of salt, 4 tbsp. of the lemon juice, and 3 tbsp. of the butter. Meanwhile, trim about 1/2" from the ends of the asparagus. Lay spears on a work surface, then peel thin skin from each with a sharp swivel-blade vegetable
peeler, starting 1 1/2" from the top and running the length of the spear. (Spears are brittle and can snap when peeled in midair.) Gather spears into 4 bundles, tie loosely with kitchen string, and lower into simmering water. Cook, increasing heat to medium-high if necessary to maintain a simmer, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8–30 minutes, depending on thickness. Lift bundles from simmering water and drain on paper towels.
2. Boil wine and shallots in a medium heavy pan over medium-high heat until reduced by three-quarters, 10–15 minutes. Add cream and reduce again by half, 5–7 minutes; reduce heat to low. Cut remaining 12 tbsp. butter into pieces, then whisk into pan, a few pieces at a time, until smooth. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste, Tabasco, and remaining lemon juice. Cover and keep warm for up to 15 minutes.
3. Chop half the chervil and set aside. Untie string from asparagus, then cut spears into 1 1/2" lengths and add to warm beurre blanc. Cook for 1 minute, stirring gently until well coated. Add tomatoes and chopped chervil and stir gently, then spoon into a warm serving dish. Garnish with remaining chervil. Serve warm.