For Asparagus Aspirations
I showed this site to a friend the other day and he asked me if I really served food the way that I presented it in the photos.
And when I answered yes, he asked my why I bothered.
He himself had given up on presentation a long time ago when his ungrateful family appeared to not appreciate the efforts.
But I don’t do the presentation for appreciation. I do it because I like it. I do it because I honestly like playing with food.
It probably surprises few that my favorite mass produced toy was an erector set. I loved putting them together in odd and interesting ways. I think this also feeds into my passion for origami! There is just something utterly irresistible about creating something spectacular out of a few simple components!
I feel the same way about food presentation.
Every chance to touch food is a chance to play. With texture, taste and presentation. Which is why, I bother with presentation even when I am just cooking for myself. Or in this case, not so much cooking as simply assembling.
I love asparagus. Absolutely positively love it. Side effects be dammed I will eat asparagus almost to the exclusion of anything else. Fortunately most of my family feels this way. This goes doubly so for grilled asparagus, slightly charred and still tender crisp. So it is dreadfully rare that there is any left over.
But, the other day, not only was there left over asparagus but there were also left over grilled portabella mushrooms. Lucky! Lucky me!
Of course as lovely as the grilled veggies were I still wanted to add some protein. And that came in the form of the most delectable smoked pork loin called Karaja. Salted and heavily smoked it is best sliced thin where it’s practically melts in the mouth leaving a lingering smokiness which paired perfectly with the lightly charred asparagus. YUMM!
It was the perfect left over lunch.
As much asparagus as your grill will fit
A light spraying of vegetable oil
A liberal sprinkling of kosher salt
A good drizzle of a quality extra virgin olive oil (Mine is blood orange infused)
Preheat Grill on high, clean and oil
Clean the asparagus, breaking off the tough bottom parts of the stem. Spray lightly with vegetable oil.
With the grill on high, lay the asparagus across the bars and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. Once the asparagus has good grill marks on it, roll it half a turn. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Cook until the asparagus is done to your liking and has developed a slight char at the tips. Remove to a casserole dish and drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil (orange goes really well with asparagus but garlic would be great too). Sprinkle with salt and toss quickly.
Grilled Portabella Mushrooms
3 – 4 large portabella mushroom caps
A few sprays of vegetable oil
Juice of two lemons
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
Preheat grill on high, clean and oil.
Smash the garlic cloves and mince finely. Add to the lemon juice. Salt and pepper it.
Remove stems. Spray or brush the mushroom caps with the oil and place on grill, cap side down.
Pour the lemon juice mixture evenly inside the mushroom caps. Spread evenly through the gills. Grill the mushrooms, undisturbed for 5 minutes.
After five minutes, give the caps a quarter of a turn and continue to cook another three-four minutes.
Flip the caps and repeat on the gill side. The lemon juice and mushroom water will spill from that cap onto the grill and make lots of smoke. This is good as it helps to flavor the mushroom.
Grill until the caps are done to your liking about 10 – 15 minutes.
Salt lightly and cut into thin strips.