ASP is not a snake

I’ve been very busy these past few days eating, cooking, thinking about recipes, reading new recipes. It’s amazing how the time does fly! We are also experiencing yo-yo weather. Last week it was in the upper 20s one evening. Then we had an unprecedented amount of rain. Yesterday it was almost 90 degrees out. Today was cool and dreary. It’s enough to make anyone feel bipolar, or at least think that mother nature is. This strange combination of weather is leaving me unsure what to wear and unsure of what to eat. One day I want ice cream and fruit and the next day I want soup and a cup of hot tea.

I think it is this confusion that has led me to some strange combination of ingredients lately. I think it turned out fairly successful tonight, at least, although I’m sure there’s room for improvement. Suggestions or substitutions are welcome.

One year for Passover I made this amazing asparagus dish. Or maybe it was for Rosh Hashanah? (You can see that the event left a big impression.) The dish, however, truly did. I can still picture the asparagus – crisp, green, tasting of spring. I wanted to recreate this dish, but of course I had not written it down. I vaguely remember the sources of inspiration. I looked through some cookbooks and my recipe binder and got a few ideas. Time has passed since that delectable asparagus. I do hope this new combination of ingredients can compare.

sunchokes waiting for preparation

A.S.P. (Asparagus, Sunchokes and Pomegranate Seeds)
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 bunch skinny fresh asparagus
1 dozen small sunchokes
1 small Pomegranate
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 lemon
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
salt & pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette
1. Cut pomegranate and separate out seeds. Wash in bowl of cold water and white membrane will rise to the top. Strain and dry seeds.
2. Juice lemon into bowl.
3. Stir mustard into lemon.
4. Whisk olive oil into lemon, forming an emulsion.
5. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Pour dressing over pomegranate seeds. Stir to combine.
7. Set aside.

For the asparagus
1. Wash asparagus. Trim ends. If you bend the end it will naturally break, leaving the unwanted part separate from the tender stalk.
2. Wash sunchokes and cut off any blemishes.
3. Thinly slice sunchokes.

thinly slice sunchokes

4. Put large saucepan half full of salted water on high heat, bringing to a simmer.
5. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan over medium heat, to coat.
6. Saute sunchokes in hot olive oil. Keep stirring so they crisp up!
7. Add asparagus to simmering water. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they just begin to turn bright green.

cook asparagus

8. Use tongs to remove asparagus from water and plate.
9. When sunchokes are golden brown, add them to asparagus.
10. Top entire dish with vinaigrette and pomegranate seeds.


I like the combination of flavors and colors. If you are annoyed by the seeds inside the pomegranate, you could try substituting something like blueberries, currents or dried cranberries.

dinner for me

As this was only a side dish, I had to eat something more. I had this with sweet potatoes (and trout). The potatoes are really more of a technique than a recipe. Thanks dad!

Sweet Potato Coins
2-3 large sweet potatoes
olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375 F with cookie sheet on middle rack.
2. Wash potatoes and cut off any blemishes.
3. Slice potatoes into circles about 1 inch thick.
3. In a bowl, mix potatoes with enough olive oil to coat, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. When oven is hot add potatoes in single layer to cookie sheet.
5. Check after 20 minutes. Flip potatoes.
6. Cook until tender – about 40 minutes.

sweet potato coins