Sunday, June 3, 2007

Girl gone wild.

Oh, wild do I love thee? Let me count the ways...thou art graceful, low in calroies, high in folic acid and Vitamin C, and oh-so-easy to cook. Thou art also fleeting of season and a bit dear to procure.

I went to brunch today (with my friend Cristin) at Eli's Vinegar Factory, up at 91st and York. The restaurant sits atop the store, which is owned by the same Eli Zabar of E.A.T. on Madison and Eli's on Third Avenue. So, of course, after stuffing ourselves with omelets and the bread basket, we had to browse through the store. I wasn't planning on buying anything (since most of the stock at Eli's, excepting the excellent bread, is overpriced), but then I saw the wild asparagus.

Wild asparagus, a slimmer, more delicate version of its domesticated cousin, is available only for a few short weeks at the beginning of June, and I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by. I grabbed a bunch, then tossed some chives into my cart to go along with. Tonight for dinner, I combined those two with spaghetti (the perfect foil for the asparagus, since they're about the same size), a little garlic, and a touch of butter.

The result? Bliss.

Wild Aspargus with Spaghetti and Chives

Serves 2 as a main course

1/2 pound spaghetti
Kosher salt
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 pound wild asparagus
3 tbs. chives, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

Cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling, salted water. While it cooks, add the oil and butter to a 12-inch skillet and cook over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and slightly golden.

Add the asparagus to the skillet, reduce heat to medium, and saute, tossing frequently, until tender. Add half the chives and salt and pepper to taste, and toss the asparagus with the chives to mix evenly. If the spaghetti is not yet ready, turn the heat off under the skillet, and turn it back on when ready to add the pasta.

Otherwise, add the spaghetti and a bit of its cooking water to the skillet, and cook the pasta and sauce together for a minute or two. Taste to adjust seasonings, divide between two bowls, top with the remaining chives, and serve immediately.

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