Side dishes are the key to making every meal a hit. They are essentially the glue that holds dinner
together. Roasted asparagus is by far Spring's quintessential veggie and this mustard-dill vinaigrette
just takes it up a notch! Now, having said that, asparagus can be the quintessential enemy of wine.
This vegetable is a member of the lily family and contains the sulfurous amino acid known as
methionine. This chemical compound is the culprit that causes the notorious "asparagus-pee" effect
known to many who can smell it, not everyone can. Lucky them.
When methionine is coupled with asparagus' already green and grassy flavors, it can make wine
taste dank, metallic, thin and even bitter. Overall, it's not good.
The only way to work against this collision of taste buds is to prepare the asparagus a certain way or
drink the right wine varietal with this wonderful Spring vegetable.
As far as cooking goes, one way to thwart the asparagus-wine issue is to mask the vegetal
asparagus flavors with a rich sauce; a Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce are a good choice. Even lots
and lots of melted butter can work well. Myself, I love to dip asparagus in mayonnaise, a
(bad) habit my father taught me and one that dies hard, especially in a pinch. Shame on me, but it's
really good, try it.
Another cooking method that helps with the wine-asparagus debacle requires tossing the asparagus
in olive oil and throwing it on the grill. The grill-char magically balances the vegetal flavors of the
asparagus, making it a more wine-friendly dish (try this with Pinot Noir...the earthy flavors meld
Now, if you're not interested in adding copious amounts of sauce to your asparagus and don't want
to bother with the grill, you need to choose the perfect wine that creates a harmonious balance of
the so-called "light green flavors".
There are some definite wines to steer clear of with asparagus. Wines such as highly tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or oaky Chardonnays, are two that come to mind almost immediately as wine-asparagus
Then in comes our Noble Pig Pinot Gris. It's lemony and citrusy and is an absolute match with this
asparagus recipe. The high acidity creates the perfect balance with this vinaigrette.
Roasted Asparagus with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette
2 lbs asparagus, trimmed (2 bunches) 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided Salt and black pepper 1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon whole-grained mustard
Preheat oven to 425o F. Toss asparagus with 1 Tablespoon oil, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Place tossed asparagus on a baking sheet and roast until tender, 10-12 minutes.
Whisk remaining 2 Tablespoons oil, dill, lemon juice, Dijon and mustard in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper.
Toss asparagus with vinaigrette until coated.
One Year Ago: Ultimate Pizza Sauce
2 lbs asparagus, trimmed (2 bunches)
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and black pepper
1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon whole-grained mustard