Gorgeous asparagus can be found in virtually every small town grocery store this time of year, for a great price. I get so excited when I see those thin, green stalks go on sale – because I know that Spring is finally here!
This recipe comes from the Lee brother’s new cookbook “Charleston Kitchen”. I purchased it in Charleston, and had an opportunity to talk to the brothers for a few minutes. They are just as warm and welcoming as you’d imagine! It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I was planning to make shrimp & grits as the first recipe I’d try out of the cookbook – but when I saw that asparagus was on sale this week, and grapefruits too – I couldn’t help but move this recipe to the forefront.
It was so delicious, and so different! The sweet earthiness of the asparagus, paired with the bite and tang from the grapefruit was out of this world. And the vinaigrette? Lord have mercy. I’ve had a batch in the fridge at all times since then. To-die-for on a watercress and arugula salad. And aren’t those grapefruit segments so pretty? I used a standard “red” grapefruit to cut up for the salad, but then sliced into one of the Texas Rio Star’s I’ve been hoarding to see the color difference (I used it in the background so you can see the difference for yourself). Wowza, totally see what all the fuss is about now. So much redder, sweeter, and larger – they were about 3x the size of a standard grapefruit. I’ll have to cut a deal with Shawnda to ship me some next year, because I had a hell of a time finding them up here!
So if you’re looking to put a few fun, fresh twists on your Easter table this year – I’d highly recommend this asparagus. It’s super-duper easy and quick, delicious, and special. Thanks to the Lee Brothers for another new family favorite in our home!
Skillet Asparagus with Grapefruit
1 grapefruit, preferably a ruby variety
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp canola or veggie oil
1 pound medium asparagus, trimmed of any woody ends
Freshly ground black pepper
With a zester, scrape some grapefruit zest from the skin of the fruit for garnish, and reserve. Segment the grapefruit, removing any pith and membranes, catching juice in a bowl. Once you’ve extracted all the citrus segments, squeeze the membranes to release any remaining juice and then discard the membranes. Gently strain the segments, reserving segments and juice in separate bowls. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of water, and the mustard to the bowl with the grapefruit juice and whisk to combine. Pour in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify.
Pour the canola oil into a large skillet over high heat, and when it smokes, add half of the asparagus and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cover. Cook, partly covered, until the asparagus is blackened on one side, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the asparagus in the pan, cover, and cook until the asparagus is thoroughly blackened, 3 minutes more; transfer to a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining asparagus, adding another teaspoon of oil to the pan (if it’s become too dry) and seasoning with salt.
When all the asparagus is on the platter, scatter the grapefruit segments evenly over the asparagus. If the dressing has broken, whisk to re-emulsify, pour it over the asparagus, and grind some black pepper over the top. Garnish the platter with the reserved zest, and serve.
Source: barely adapted from The Charleston Kitchen by Matt and Ted Lee