If you haven’t already noticed at the grocery store, Washington-grown asparagus is back for the season. As the country’s largest asparagus-growing state, the Washington asparagus season typically runs from April through June, though this year showed a slightly later crop harvest, according to the Washington Asparagus Commission. During this peak season, asparagus can grow up to 10 inches in a single day, which adds time-efficiency to the already labor-intensive process of harvesting because the natural fragility of the spears requires hand-cutting each one from the ground.
A high source of folate, glutathione, Vitamin A and C, asparagus is also delicious but often times a daunting pairing partner for wine. However, when wine is used in the cooking of asparagus, the odds are ever in the cook’s favor.
Enter Executive Chef Paul Duncan of Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle. The iconic waterfront restaurant knows its way around seasonal produce and seasonal seafood, where Duncan has been running the kitchen for the last five years. In this recipe, he simply grills Washington asparagus and tops it with a few other savory ingredients like jamon (Spanish ham) and fried eggs to help with pairing powers, including a Sauvignon Blanc sabayon made with Avennia’s 2017 Oliane, a Yakima Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
“Sabayon is a custard-like sauce from Italy,” Duncan says. “The wine used in this particular sabayon shines through as the focal point of this sauce… the acidity of the wine nicely complements the grilled asparagus and adds a rich note to play off the jamon.”
Making it easier on you, the chef also recommends pairing with the same wine to get that same brightness of the wine with the complexity of the custardy sauce and tanginess of the asparagus.
Grilled Washington Asparagus with Wok Fried Egg & Sauvignon Blanc Sabayon
By Executive Chef Paul Duncan of Ray’s Boathouse
Ingredients for Asparagus
10 pieces fresh asparagus
½ tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Ingredients for Sauvignon
3 ounces Avennia 2018 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc
4 egg yolks
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt, to taste
Ingredients for Pickled
1 cup yellow mustard seed
1 cup black mustard seed
1 cup rice wine vinegar
¾ cup water
¾ cup mirin
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Ingredients to Complete Dish
1 thinly sliced piece jamon
1 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons chopped chives, parsley, dill, mixed
Lemon, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
4 ounces smoked salmon
Grill asparagus over gas or wood flame and finish with the olive oil and Kosher salt, about five minutes.
For the sabayon, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. In a stainless mixing bowl add the egg yolks, Sauvignon Blanc, lemon zest and place over the water bat, turning the heat to medium-low. Whisk without stopping until mixture has structure and holds a “ribbon.” Set aside at room temperature adjusting for salt to taste.
For the pickled mustard seeds, bring 1 quart of water to a boil, add the seeds and boil in the water for 1 minute, rinse and repeat this step 5 times. Assemble the pickling solution and heat until sugar and salt have dissolved completely. Once the solution has cooled add the seeds and store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
In a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, fry the jamon for a few minutes until crispy. Remove and set aside. Bring the heat up to high, where it is almost smoking, and the canola oil. Crack each egg into the pan and let sizzle for approximately 30 seconds. Remove egg from pan, season and set aside.
In a bowl, combine the chopped herbs with the lemon juice and olive oil to taste.
To assemble the dish, plate 5 grilled asparagus piled in small mound and top with a fried egg and half the smoked salmon. Drizzle with sabayon. Top the salmon with a teaspoon of pickled mustard seeds. Plate half of the fresh herb salad next to the asparagus and place half of the fried jamon pieces around the plate. Make 2 plates and enjoy.
Want more Washington asparagus recipes? Find another here.