Sunday, 26 April 2015

Pass th Parcel

Asparagi Verdi in Cartoccio con Vermicelli di Riso, Menta, Zenzero, Limone & Peperoncino
Green Asparagus Parcels with Rice Noodles, Lemon, Mint, Ginger & Chili

Yes indeed- asparagus is in season and everyone is going crazy for it- as always!

And they are also all preparing it the same way that they always do!

Which is fine the first time you eat it, or the second- but let's face it, as short as the season is- if you keep having asparagus in Hollandaise or other butter sauces- you are going to get bored! Plus... you are also pretty likely to get fat!

There are so many other ways you can enjoy asparagus and it is so versatile that you can also easily make up your own... like I did this evening!

I MUCH prefer green asparagus to white- which my German colleagues will not appreciate me saying- but I prefer its richer flavor and also the fact that it is so much easier to prepare as it does not require peeling- oh and whilst we are at it... because it even tastes wonderful raw!


So let me share with you my little recipe- which this evening consisted of 1 bundle of rice noodles, 1 red chili pepper (mild), 1 Spring onion, 1 lemon, a little fresh ginger, a little fresh mint- and of course, a nice handful of tender green asparagus!

I seasoned my dish with hoisin sauce and sesame oil- and the ingredients brought all of the wonderful flavor, all by themselves...


And trust me- the burst of aroma and of course flavor, when you open up that parcel to enjoy, is SO incredible!

The great thing about this parcel idea as well, is that you can prepare this beforehand if you are making it for a dinner party say, and then bake a whole batch of individual servings all in one go...

And of course. also, serve them all up in one go- piping hot, aromatic and delicious... and FUN!


Start off by preparing the rice noodles- which is easy! Simply cover with boiling water and allow to sit and soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to loosen them up.

In the meantime, finely chop those aromatics- the chili, the ginger, the onion, the zest of half of the lemon and a good couple of pinches of mint. Add as much or little chili and ginger as you personally prefer or feel comfortable with... I like mine nice and spicy!

And turn on the oven!


After 5 minutes, pour off the hot water from the rice noodles and cover them with cold water... and they are then finished and ready to go!

Next, briefly sautée the asparagus with the finely chopped ginger and chili, with a good splash of sesame oil- 3-4 minutes should be enough.


Start with the noodles and add half of the onion, mint and zest to them, along with a drizzle of sesame oil, the juice of half of the lemon and hoisin sauce for seasoning. Carefully stir together and you are good to go!


The noodles go onto your parchment paper first- they will serve as a bed for the asparagus and thus also soak up all of the good flavors as it bakes in the oven.


The asparagus then goes on top, covered with the remaining onion, mint and zest, again, hoisin sauce and the rest of the lemon juice... make sure to add it all!


Fold the paper together, lengthways and then twist each end nicely and tightly shut- then bake at 180°C for 10-15 minutes...


... after which time the parcels are piping hot, full of flavor and aroma- and ready to serve!

And there you have it- all of the flavors, trapped together and nothing at all lost in any way- you can't get much tastier than this! Or easier, either!

It may be a little tricky to slide the contents of your parcel "elegantly" onto your serving dish... but you know- when the flavors are so rich and fresh and plain good- that really is not going to matter all that much!


 Simply grab your chop-sticks, or a knife and fork... and ENJOY!

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