Do you eat asparagus with your fingers?
Or with a knife and fork?
One properly eats it with one's fingers, according to the etiquette guidelines.
Except, of course, if it's dripping with butter or sauce that would make a proper mess. Then you may use your knife and fork.
I know this; I've known it for some years, actually.
But the first time I was at a 'proper' dinner party and the hostess began eating her asparagus with her fingers I was a bit, er, discombobulated.
I mean, this was the same woman I had watched, not a week earlier, expertly eat an orange with a knife and fork.
Europeans, in general, are not prone to eating foods with fingers.
Sandwiches are gaining in popularity here, and, while you will see people sitting outdoors in a park eating them out of hand, in a restaurant or cafe they will use a knife and fork, particularly if it's a hot sandwich – like a hamburger.
Fruit is often served as the final course, especially in Spain. Whole fruit – bananas, oranges, apples…. all peeled and eaten with a knife and fork.
Kind of takes the fun out of it.
Other foods properly eaten with one's fingers are: bacon, but only if it's very crisp; oysters, but after being detached with the oyster fork; fried chicken but only at a picnic; and corn on the cob.
We don't worry about corn on the cob. Most Euros won't touch it – it's considered pig food. We only eat it if I grow it (with seeds from the US).
And we eat it the proper way – with butter running off the chin…..
These pastries require a knife and fork.
Just so you know….
Asparagus Pastries with Tarragon Cream
8oz (250gr) green asparagus
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) Greek or plain yogurt, crème fraiche sour cream
1 tsp fresh or dried tarragon
1 – 2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour)
1/2 large sheet puff pastry
Thaw the puff pastry, if needed.
The asparagus: Snap off ends of asparagus. If white use vegetable peeler and peel bottom half of stalk, laying it flat on the counter to prevent breaking. Leave asparagus whole. Bring 1 – 2 inches (5cm) of water to a boil in a skillet large enough to hold the asparagus in one layer. Add the asparagus and blanch for 2 – 4 minutes, depending on thickness. Mine were as thick as my index finger and I did 4 minutes. Remove and refresh in cold water.
The sauce: Heat wine, stock and tarragon in a small saucepan. Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tbs of water. When wine is boiling add cornstarch mixture and stir to thicken. It should be very thick. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.
The pastry: Lay out puff pastry and cut 2 rectangles, each the size of half of the asparagus laid flat with 1/2 – 3/4 inch (2cm) all around – or trim the asparagus to fit. Lay the cut pastry on a baking sheet. With a butter knife lightly score a line around the pastry, 1/3" (1cm) from edge. Divide the Tarragon Cream evenly and spread on the pastry, up to the line. Lay the asparagus on top of the cream – it should just cover it. Bake in pre-heated oven at 420F (205C) for 10 – 13 minutes, until sides of pastry have puffed around middle and are golden brown. Remove and serve.
for May 7 we have Marinated, Grilled Salmon with Brown Sugar Yogurt Sauce, Rosemary Lamb Chops, Pasta Primavera Salad, Chicken, Asparagus and Spinach Salad, Orange Glazed Pork Chops…. All
easy, all delicious and all for two!
Thyme for Cooking
is a Weekly Menu Planning Service. Become a Subscriber
and get the menu, complete recipes with meal preparation instructions,
and shopping list each Thursday. First two weeks are free. (Reverse
seasons available for Australia, and others in the Southern Hemisphere).