Cookery Maven Blog

Asparagus & Anchovies

Anchovies and asparagus, who knew? They are a match made in little fishy heaven and the combination takes plain old asparagus to a new level of fancy schmancy. Since I'm wholeheartedly embracing vegetables, it's good to have a flavorful butter sauce to ease the transition from eating meat and poultry with wild abandon to practicing a little restraint and filling my plate with vegetables. I've decided I'm a devout omnivore and that includes things like pâté, Fromage d'Affinois and roasted duck with a reduced port sauce— just not every day. In fact, I made my very first foray into black bean burger land tonight and while my recipe needs a little work before I pass it on to you, it wasn't that bad. Maybe I need to add a few anchovies (and butter).

Alongside the 45 types of mustards, pickles and Thai fish sauce in the fridge, there's always a little jar of anchovies in olive oil— they're my secret ingredient in stews, salad dressings and sauces. I'm telling you, for such a little fish, they pack a big punch and when they mingle with white wine, capers and butter— it's a good thing.

Asparagus With Anchovy Butter

1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 anchovies in olive oil, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced 2 tbsp shallots, minced
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
4 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Maldon sea salt and pepper

Trim asparagus stalks to the same length, cook 3-4 minutes in salted boiling water until cooked but still crispy. Drain on a towel.

Add the white wine, shallots, garlic and parsley to a medium sauce pan, simmer until the wine is reduced by half. Whisk in the butter until melted, add the anchovies and capers, stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper, if necessary. Place the asparagus on a platter, pour the butter sauce over the asparagus and garnish with Parmesan and pine nuts. Serve immediately.