a16's roasted asparagus with walnut crema

Above is Easter Dinner, which I didn't cook. See I have an excuse, really I do. It's actually a very good reason. My birthday was Friday and my mom decided to combine my birthday dinner with Easter. Cool beans.

My mom asked if I minded and I was all... "Heck No! I always wanted my birthday to be on Easter."

Do you know how long I have to wait for my birthday to be on Easter? Seriously, guess. I'll wait for you to do the math.

whistling...tapping my toes... humming... doing the truffle shuffle

Give up?

2039!!!! 30 years from now.

So not fair...I'll be 65. Noooo, I couldn't have Easter on my birthday when I was 10 or 16. No, no, no... I have to wait until I'm 65. I mean I'll be a young 65 but what the hell... it's still 65. I can't even imagine being 65. Gah.

All I know is that I better get an Easter basket and presents that year. Everyone better make a big fuss, damn it.

Okay, now that I have gotten that out of my system... I received three cookbooks for birthday presents, A16 Food+Wine, Urban Italian, and Ruhlman's Ratio (which I guess is a cookbook? isn't it?) So that brings my cookbook ownership up to 15 books and 5 of Ruhlman's books not including French Laundry and Bouchon. Which quickly went back to 12 because my mom took these books to get inspiration for Easter dinner.

And look what she made...

Roasted Asparagus with Walnut Crema: (A16 Food+Wine)
serves 8

Walnut Crema:

kosher salt
1 1/2 cups walnuts
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup)

Roasted Asparagus:

extra virgin olive oil
3 bunches asparagus
kosher salt
1 cup walnuts, *toasted and coarsely chopped
grated pecorino
(the recipe calls for pecorino tartufo, which is pecorino cheese studded with black truffles... which cost about $30 per pound. umm, not happening when you need to feed about 20 people)

*Toasted Walnuts:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, rotating the pan front to back often, for 15-20 minutes. Until nuts are aromatic and golden.

For the Walnut Crema:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add walnuts and blanch for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender in the middle. Drain walnuts, reserving 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Set aside.

In a saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and a generous pinch of salt and sweat for about 7 minutes, or until golden brown and tender. Remove from heat.

In a food processor, combine the onion. walnuts, and reserved cooking liquid and process until creamy. With the processor still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil, processing until creamy. It should be the consistency of creamy hummus. If too thick add some water.

For the Roasted Asparagus:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and lightly coat 2 baking sheets with olive oil.

Trim off the tough stems ends from the asparagus. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Season with salt and coat each spear evenly with olive oil. Roast asparagus for about 8 minutes, or until blistered and slightly charred and tender when pierced with a paring knife.

In a small bowl, toss toasted walnuts with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

To serve, spoon the crema evenly across the bottom of a platter. Arrange the asparagus spears on top and sprinkle the toasted walnut mixture on top. Grate cheese on top and finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

Tasting Notes: Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! I loved these asparagus. I'm pretty sure everyone else did too. The asparagus were perfectly cooked and the walnut crema set off the asparagus nicely. I think if anything it could have used a little acidity. Maybe finish off the asparagus with a drizzle of lemon olive oil?

*I was just googling this recipe and it seems everyone squeezes a little lemon on this dish at the end.

katie self portrait 4.13.09

i think the hair looks good and not at all liza minelli-ish but i'm mom... what do i know?


Phoo-D said...

Oh how funny, we made the A-16 asparagus for Easter dinner too! It was delicious. Though did you find it reminded you strangely of peanut butter and jelly? Mr. B liked the walnut crema so much he polished the leftovers off yesterday without any asparagus!

P.S. I think Katie's haircut looks very chic and sophisticated.

Mayberry Magpie said...

LOVE the haircut. In fact, it's the haircut I want. Only my old saggy face won't support it. (OH.MY.GOD. I would be Liza!)

tamilyn said...

Happy Belated birthday.

I LOVE the haircut-it is beautiful!

The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Happy Belated. I am drooling over that asparagus. It's my absolute favorite veggie and prepared that way, I am not ashamed to say, that I would have probably eaten that whole giant bowlful. Nope, I'm not afraid to admit it.

Katies hair looks wonderful. Really.

Humble Abode said...

love that haircut. it's my dream cut if my hair wasn't crazy thick and super wavy.

Louise at Livin Local said...

Happy Birthday! Love roasted asparagus also, but am wary of adding anything on top. (I did the same, different recipe on Easter, and it just was not my thang.)

Melissa said...

Oh, I'm jealous. I really want that Urban Italian book. And I've hear good things about the A16 as well. Asparagus looks great from the moms.

And Katie, yes, seriously, your hair looks great. Not Liza-ish. You're lucky you can pull off a hairstyle like that and have it look so pretty. I sure can't!

noble pig said...

Funny but I made that asparagus over the weekend! Weird!

And her haircut is very sophisticated!

Unknown said...

Asparagus looks delish.

And not to be weird and comment on Katie's hair - but wow! She looks absolutely stunning. Very posh.

michael, claudia and sierra said...

the kid is stunning
great haircut - truly

i have A16 and love it

grace said...

first and foremost, i adore katie's haircut. i would have a style just like that if my hair was straight.
secondly, happy belated birthday! why would you want to share your birthday with easter? :)
finally, your ma does good work.

KitchenKiki said...

Oooh, can't wait to try the asparagus.
When you said acid, I was thinking a little basalmic to finish it, what do you think?

And I think Katie looks more like Katie Holmes than Liza. It is just hard to get used to yourself when you chop off half your hair.

auntjone said...

Happy birthday. If you're still blogging at 65 I'll send you an Easter basket AND a birthday gift. Just be glad your b-day doesn't always fall on a holiday because it pretty much sucks.

And Katie's hair is gorgeous. I wish I could pull something like that off but I'm pretty sure my head would look too small for my body if my hair was that short. Damn.

Laufa said...

Asparagus and hair look great!

coffee and queso said...

tell Katie she looks fab, not nearly like liza minelli! in fact, i'm trying to grow out my shag/pixie to look more like her cut! happy belated birthday. :)

Lisa said...

That asparagus looks delicious! ( Why is it I never get tired of asparagus?)

Happy Birthday! And I agree with you, I like the hair. Very chic!

ntsc said...

I'm waiting for the first aspargus to show its pointy little head. We have an 8' square bed of it. With about 200 plants.

Sweet Bird said...

The hair is very Posh - like Victoria Beckham Posh. I like.

Spryte said...

Happy Birthday!!!! My son and I are April 11 and April 8... so we're always waiting for Good Friday or Easter Birthdays!

Anonymous said...



Cassaendra said...

I'm not a big onion fan, but that preparation sounds great. With it being tender, it would pass my lips at least once. I'll coax the husband to try this recipe.

The hairstyle is chic. I can picture several very cool outfits to match that look!