Asparagus with Tomato Basil Coulis
Asparagus is one of life’s virtuous indulgences: four cooked spears have about 15 calories, and are packed with vitamins A and C. To ensure freshness, cut the ends from the stalks and stand the asparagus in a couple of inches of cool water until ready to clean and cook. Recipes for asparagus too often fall into one of two extremes: painfully plain (blanched) or fatteningly fancy (with hollandaise sauce, cream, or cheese). This recipe strikes a perfect balance: simply sauteed green asparagus atop a fragrant tomato coulis.
- Shallots - 4, minced
- Garlic Cloves - 10, minced
- Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon 1/2 cup
- Tomatoes - 5, peeled
- V-8 Juice - 3/4 cup
- Fresh Parsley - 1 tablespoon, chopped
- Fresh Basil - 2 tablespoons, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Dry White Wine - 1 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Asparagus - 1 bunch (1-1/2 pounds), blanched
- Chives - 8, cut into 1-inch lengths
- Green Onion - 1, minced
- Basil leaves - 4, whole
In a skillet, saute the shallots and garlic in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil for 2 minutes, or until soft. Quarter 3 of the tomatoes and add to the garlic and shallots. Add the V-8 juice, parsley, and basil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat, or until heated through.
Pour the mixture into a food processor or blender. Pour the wine into the pan and cook and stir over medium heat to remove any cooked juices from the bottom of the pan. Add this wine to the processor or blender and puree the mixture. With the motor running, add the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil in a thin, steady stream and process for 2 minutes. In a large 10-inch saute pan, melt the butter and saute the asparagus for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp.
To serve: Cover four plates with coulis. Arrange 4 asparagus spears in a fan over the coulis. Mince the remaining 2 tomatoes and arrange equal amounts at the base of each asparagus fan. Garnish each with chives, green onions, and a basil leaf.