Here's another thing I made the night my parents came over: blanched asparagus with from-scratch aïoli. It's also from Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home, and it's really quite simple.
This is the time of year you should be eating asparagus! It's quite simple to prepare whether blanching, broiling, grilling, roasting, or stir frying, and it's always a crowd pleaser . . . especially when paired with from-scratch aïoli.
As for the aïoli, it's basically just a garlicky mayonnaise. Now, don't get hesitant if you hate mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise too. But real, fresh, from-scraft mayonnaise doesn't even resemble the bland, gloppy stuff that you buy in a jar. Instead, it's a delicate, creamy and fragrant sauce that the French like to pair with vegetables and fish. Just give it one try, and then tell me you don't like it. You will eat you words . . . and you will be begging for more aïoli to dip them in. ;)
A 1-pound bunch of asparagus
1 large egg* (the best quality you can find)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup canola oil (or any neutral-tasting oil)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
*Raw egg should not be consumed by pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.
Step 01. Put the egg and garlic clove into a small food processor with a bit of salt and pepper (You can also use a mixer, but I find the food processor to be the easiest way.) and turn it on.
Step 02. Once the garlic is puréed, begin to add the oil, letting the processor continue to run the whole time. Add the canola oil first and then the olive oil, in a steady stream as slowly as you can. It takes just a bit of patience.
Step 03. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Meanwhile, break the ends off of each asparagus stalk about 2 inches from the base or where they snap naturally.
Step 04. When the water is boiler, add the asparagus and cook until bright green and "crisp-tender" (about 2 to 4 minutes).
Step 05. Serve, and enjoy!
If you cover and refrigerate your aïoli when not in use, it will keep for 2 days. I suggest serving the leftovers (if there are any) with seared tilapia and some rosemary olive oil roasted new potatoes. Yum!