As promised: a translation of my contribution to Blog appetit (I have tried without much success to make it a bit more concise than the french version, because frankly... I talk too much!)
As I acknowledged to my french readers, I have a secret: the "blog appetit" contest is at the origin of my food blog addiction... Everything started about a year agowhen I inadvertantly discovered the website. Since, beside my growing addiction to food blogs, I have been secretely cherishing the dream of creating my very own blog and of course participating to Blog appetit myself. In my small dutch kitchen I have been working on most editions... but I still had to have a blog. Two months ago (I know, rapidity is not my speciality), I finally did it with My Kitchen Diaries.
After what I just told you, there was no way I would miss the latest edition. The idea of the contest is simple: food bloggers propose a recipe based on two season ingredients chosen by the Blog appetit team. For each edition, a famous chef or gastronomy figure judges the submitted recipes and proposes aher own creation. For this edition, the stars of the show were strawberries and asparagus. It might seem like a strange pairing to more than one of you, but I was thrilled: I just love both of them. At home the precious "guariguettes" strawberries my mom would buy at the market had trouble to get to the table as I was stealing them directly from the basket! Still today, I cannot imagine one of my birthdays without strawberries. As far as asparagus are concerned, I was spoiled too. I grew up in Languedoc where we would buy beautiful green asparagus directly at the field, through most of spring and summer. I would pick up wild aparagus in the guarrigue as well. Mmmm, I still remember the taste of a wild asparagus omelette! Luckily, nowadays, I am still spoiled with these two ingredients. The sandy soils of the flat country where I now live is generous in my two spring favourites. Local strawberries are fragrant and tasty and the asparagus, the dutch white gold, so delicate and tender... You got it, I love them too. Thanks to Blog appetit I ate as many as wanted this year... for the sake of culinary experimentation of course!
After several attempts, I chose for a starter. It is quite a simple dish as this is how I enjoy to cook. I wanted to highlight the strawberries and asparagus and therefore I didn't add many other flavours. To enhance my two star ingredients, I chose for vanilla that I regularly use in my asparagus dressing and argan oil for a nutty (morrocan) touch.
Here is the result:
Mousse d'asperges blanches a la vanille et son coulis de fraises a l'huile d'argan
(Asparagus and vanilla mousse with its strawberry and argan oil dressing)
6 pers. prep: 20 min cook.:35 min
For the mousse:
1/2 vanille pod
1 Tsp. "creme fraiche" with 15% fat (or sour cream)
for the dressing:
5 ripe and fragrant dutch strawberries
4 or five asparagus ends (4 ou 5)
1 tsp. raspberry vinegar
1 Tsp. argan oil
5cl cooking water from the asparagus
fleur de sel, pepper
For decoration purposes (and because it's good):
a few peeled dutch shrimps (the little grey ones)
ricottas sandy biscuits (salty ones of course)
asparagus tips (green, white or both)
For the mousse, I was inspired by the recipe of Auyo on marmiton (fr) : Preheat your oven at 170 degres. Peel the asparagus. Cook them in salted boiling water, together with ends and peels, until tender (about 15 min). Put aside 4 or five asparagus ends (by this I mean the bottom part by the way) and about 5 cl of the cooking water. Drain the asparagus well and dry them in a kitchen towel. Put them in the bowl of your food processor and add the vanilla seeds that you will have scrapped from the pod, the eggs, the creme fraiche and . Rajouter les grains de la gousse de vanille, les oeufs. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until you get a smooth cream. Pour into 6 greased little moulds. Stand these in an appropriately sized oven dish filled with water half-way up the moulds. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 35 min until the mousse has set (adjust according to your oven). Take out of the oven and leave to cool.
For the dressing, pour the ingredients in the food processor, mix until smooth. Refrigerate.
Ideally, this tarter should be prepared in advance (the day before or in the morning for the evening) so that flavours have time to develop. Serve the mousse slightly warm, with the dressing chilled. Dress your plates with one mousse, and a ribbon of dressing around (im my picture, it is more a pond than a riibon!). According to your moodand imagination, add strawberries and asparagus tips. I added one ricotta sandy biscuit and some dutch grey shrimps. The shrimps were a real plus and where a great combination with the mousse. I didn't reveal the ingredients to my guinea pigs until agter they tasted. It was a success.
... If you happen to have some leftover dressing, here is a very simple but appealing apetizer:
The scallop is just seared, seasoned with fleur de sel, ground pepper and vanilla
If you know a little bit of french, I advise you to go and have a look at the other creations proposed by talented food bloggers for this blog appetit edition. From risotto and chutney to asparagus sorbet and sweets... some are really amazing. An overview of all recipes is available here.