This was going to be a short and sharp quickie - and probably not a very interesting one at that - as I was running out of time yesterday. I started it but, of course, quickly found it was going to take me longer than I thought so it was put aside for today.
It's inspired by the dish above. I don't see a lot of cooking on television - David hates cooking shows, and we only have one television. But I had a moment and watched a bit of Adam Liaw's new programme. I think they were making tarts. And he made this Roast chicken and asparagus tart. Not that thought-provoking you might think, but I was intrigued by two things. One - the asparagus was shaved very finely - by hand as it happened, but it could have been done on a mandolin I guess if you are brave. It was then added to a hot white sauce with the shredded roast chicken, heated through and then just dumped in the pastry case. Which is not normally how I think of making tarts. So I mentally set it aside, although not much more can be said about it I guess, but it was tempting.
Anyway as I was running out of time I thought I would use it to just compare to other things you could do with chicken and asparagus. Yes it would just end up as a list - which it still is really - but then there are lots of sites, including The Guardian who do such things and are read by thousands so why not me?
First of all chicken and asparagus. Is it a good match? Well interestingly, Stephanie in her list of what asparagus goes with, in her Kitchen Companion, does not include chicken. Beverley Sutherland Smith in The seasonal kitchen, does however. But she doesn't give a recipe. So I think it's one of those pairings that is alright, but not a sensation. Well chicken will go with just about anything won't it? Asparagus has a more limited range perhaps, but only slightly. And I certainly couldn't find anybody commenting on the mix as a match made in heaven.
So here I go with my list of what I found - no chicken and asparagus ice-cream or anything outrageous at all but a few that you might not have thought of. In fact I found so many - that's what took the time - that I wondered why people didn't go on about it as a good pairing more.
I shouldn't actually be writing about asparagus right now either because it's not in season. Well you can get it in the supermarket, but it will probably be imported. I don't think we supplement the season (September-March) here with either greenhouses or growing it in the far north. Not yet anyway.
So with a few comments, and in random groups here is what I found.
Creamy lemon chicken with asparagus from Gimme Delicious is fairly typical of a number of braises out there. Obviously the chicken will take longer to cook than the asparagus. Regular flavourings are lemon and cream, maybe the odd bit of bacon. One pan honey lemon chicken asparagus from the Café Delites lady. Same ingredients, different way of cooking them - no sauce and really the asparagus is just a side not a vital component of the dish, so a bit of a cheat this one. I wonder if you could devise an asparagus based stuffing for the chicken - either in bits or as a whole bird? Chicken and asparagus salad with peanut dressing from Thomasina Miers - well there had to be a salad didn't there? And of course, you can add all manner of stuff to a salad, and dress it in a vast number of ways too. This one has a peanut dressing, so an Asian twist.
Over to the Italians: Chicken and asparagus carbonara from Taste - well pasta - you could add anything you like here couldn't you? Peas and bacon seem to be favourite, but other spring veggies are as well or you could go the tomato route. Maybe a bit of anchovy? Chicken and asparagus risotto - this one is from Perfecto Italiano which is a manufacturer of Italian cheeses and things, but it was actually the most tempting looking of the risottos. There are lots of others - mostly rather more creamy looking and often including peas. A bit bland perhaps -or put more kindly - delicate. Spinach pesto, chicken and asparagus pizza. This one is from a website dedicated to Coeliacs called Celiac Ready, so the base is gluten free, but obviously you can make your own or use a readymade one. There were other examples that had no tomato - they were white pizzas, but I have to say this one looked the best. Chicken and asparagus crustless tart. Well Jamie calls it a crustless tart but really it's a frittata.
Three French inspired ones. Mini chicken and asparagus quiches from the Australian Women's Weekly - quiches are a bit like pasta in that you can add all sorts of other things - or make them full-size of course. They don't have to be mini ones. Roast chicken and asparagus soufflé omelette - fancy and rather beautiful looking, but that's delicious Magazine for you. Chicken and asparagus gratin an old recipe from Jane Grigson's Vegetable book revived by the author of Midi Hideaways. A gratin is also almost infinitely variable.
The Asians too love asparagus, so we have: Chicken and asparagus stir fry from Australia's Kylie Kwong. Well once again the additions, both in foods and flavouring must be pretty endless. A Thai chicken and asparagus curry from delicious Magazine. I don't think the Indians do asparagus, although I could be wrong there. Why not try it with a tandoori sauce for example? And a Japanese Chicken asparagus negimaki from Bon Appétit. I gather negimaki is traditionally made with beef marinated in teriyaki, grilled and rolled around spring onions - but why not chicken and asparagus?
And finally some slightly fancier offerings: Poached chicken and asparagus with green goddess sauce from Serious Eats - very posh looking and possibly rather bland, Asparagus stuffed chicken from I am a Baker - I saw a few versions of this kind of things, but this looked to be the most impressive, and finally Neil Perry offers Barbecued chicken breast with asparagus in which he has made a sauce from the asparagus.
As I said, I probably shouldn't be 'doing' asparagus at this particular moment in time, and by now you are probably a bit bored with all of this. But maybe when it's spring and there is asparagus everywhere and you are running out of ideas of what to do with it, dig this out and have a go at something different. I could fancy the Thai curry if David wasn't so averse to coconut - or maybe the stuffed chicken breasts. There's cheese in there too. Maybe even Neil Perry's fancy dish which is actually not very difficult to make. But to be true to this post I really ought to try Adam Liaw's tart. Yes - next time there is a hot day and a lunch.