Titanic Dinner: Saffron-Champagne Asparagus

The Saffron-Champagne Asparagus was the eighth of ten courses served on the last dinner of the Titanic. Imagine perched erect in a corset consuming ten delectable dishes surrounded with chatter and the violins of the orchestra which would soon play to the ship’s sinking. There’s something eerily romantic about the whole thing. Why I chose to do this dinner in September and not April is simple. One, it was my birthday. Two, Titanic in BluRay and 3D was just released, and I had to celebrate.

I know, I know. Saffron is expensive. But this is a first-class dish (literally), so spare no expense (Ha.) If you must have a substitute, consider turmeric, though I have read it can ruin a dish very quickly, so use sparingly.

I was so surprised at how amazingly delicious this was. I love asparagus and the bright vinaigrette was perfect. Enjoy!

Saffron-Champagne Asparagus
adapted from Last Dinner on the Titanic

Ingredients
1 lb. asparagus
1/4 tsp.  saffron threads
1 1/2 Tbsp. champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar works too)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Pinch of sugar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 sweet red or orange pepper, diced (I omitted this for my guests)
Greens for garnish (also omitted for simplicity)

1. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to bend the bottom of the asparagus spear until it snaps. Throw away the bottom part. It will taste woody and bitter.

2. Boil 1 quart of water. Add asparagus spears for 3-5 minutes (blanching). Do not overcook.

3. Place in cold water bath to stop cooking process. Drain well.

4. In a large bowl, mix the saffron threads with a teaspoon of boiling water. I just used the water from the asparagus while it was boiling. Let it sit for two minutes until the saffron is softened.

5. Stir in the champagne vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil into the mixture until it emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Add the asparagus and pepper (if using) and toss gently with the vinaigrette until coated. Keep in fridge until ready to serve on a platter with the greens.

More recipes to come soon along with a plan to put it all together in the simplest way possible and still impress your guests!

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