Asparagus with Mushroom-Cream Sauce
This is a luxurious dish, but not a difficult one. Ideally, you’d use morels, but those are usually hard to come by—shiitakes will also work beautifully.
You can use any mushrooms in these recipes, and it need not be a mix. They'll all work just fine with plain old white mushrooms. (You can improve the flavor of white mushrooms by by adding an equal or lesser amount of reconstituted dried mushrooms during cooking.)
Trim and wash the mushrooms carefully before cooking but do not soak them. The stems of most mushrooms are edible, but those of shiitakes are too tough. Save them for the stockpot.
Mushrooms throw off a lot of liquid during cooking, you can hasten this process by salting them as soon as you start cooking them. After the liquid evaporates, they will brown quickly, so be careful.
Cooking Time30 min
Cooking Time - Text30
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionFormal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursehot appetizer, side dish
Dietary Considerationhot appetizer, side dish
Taste and Texturecreamy, crisp, rich, savory
Type of Dishvegetable
- 20 fat asparagus spears (1 to 1½ pounds)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed, washed, and chopped
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons dry (fino) sherry
- Chopped chives for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, break off the woody bottom sections of the asparagus and peel the spears up to the flower buds.
Put the butter and oil in a skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When the butter melts, add the mushrooms, shallots, and salt and pepper to taste and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and it has begun to evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and boil, stirring occasionally, until mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and blanch the asparagus for about 5 minutes, or until bright green and just about tender. Drain and keep warm.
When the mushroom mixture is creamy but not soupy, stir in the sherry. Cook for another minute, then spoon over the asparagus. Garnish with the chives and serve.
2000 Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Mark Bittman