Spring Asparagus with White Bean Sauce
I have to admit, I was a little scared to make this recipe from Karina's Cooking By The Seasons. (Karina is Gluten-Free Goddess). I was intrigued by the high protein bean sauce, now that's a novel approach to asparagus, and Alanna (of A Veggie Venture) and I had decided it would fun to both make this recipe and post it on the same day. But I was afraid of the curry powder. Curry powder with white beans and white wine? I couldn't quite imagine how this combination of flavors would taste. What if I hated it? But its good to throw your cares to the wind occasionally, so I did. And, guess what, it all worked out beautifully (see above).
I decided to go against the grain and actually follow the recipe. I did leave out the 1/2 tsp of fennel because I didn't have any. And I used black pepper, not white pepper, because I have a thing about white pepper.
This is a divine way to prepare asparagus. It's very lightly sauted in olive oil and then cooked a little longer with lemon juice, salt and pepper. The result was wonderfully crunchy lemony asparagus. I had to stop myself eating it plain. You do want to use asparagus with thin stems or you will have to be careful not to overcook the spears.
So back to the sauce. The curry flavor is really mellowed by the lemon juice when the sauce combines with the asparagus right at the end, so that the sauce barely tastes of curry, but rather has a mild savory flavor. The sauce is slightly sweet from the wine, which did worry me, but actually it was fine with the sweet young asparagus. (I'm not the sort of person that would ever put raisins in a curry.) I used a fruity chardonnay because that's what I had, I imagine a drier white would produce a less sweet result. What's remarkable about the sauce (besides its unique mellow savory flavor) is how creamy and tasty it is, while using very little fat.
It's very quick and easy to make. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry 4 minced cloves of garlic for one minute. Add 1/2 tsp curry powder (and 1/2 tsp fennel) and cook, stirring for one minute. Add a can of drained, rinsed white cannellini beans and stir to coat with the garlic-curry mixture. Season with sea salt and pepper. Puree the beans with 1 tbsp of white wine and 1 tbsp of vegetable broth. Add additional tbsp of each until desired sauce consistency is reached. Check seasoning and serve warm over the asparagus.
Now read Alanna's version at A Veggie Venture. We also plan to make another recipe from Cooking by the Seasons later in the month - others welcome!