Thursday, June 4, 2009

Curious About Asparagus

The Curious Cook, Harold McGee, has now studied whether asparagus-snapping is the best way to avoid this vegetable's tough parts, and you can read his conclusions here . We were just having a discussion about this issue in our kitchen last week. My own style of trimming is sort of a variation on Harold's. But I'll tell you about that, maybe, next spring when I have more and fresher of the stalks to photograph. In the meantime, there is much fascinating and useful information to be had from the short article.

I haven't made very much use of the two books by McGee that I invested in many years ago. But I am grateful to him for applying scientific research to our common kitchen tasks. I did learn--and remember-- that if you happen to have a copper bowl around, you will get more volume to your egg whites if you beat them in it, because of a chemical reaction that happens. And it's o.k. to wash mushrooms, because even sitting in a bowl of water, they hardly absorb any (he weighed them before and after) and don't get soggy.

Recently I subscribed to his blog, but it isn't very busy. And just taking his books off the shelf and leafing through them makes me think that if I put in a little time with them, I might be able to learn more for use in my current culinary phase.


Jeannette said...

Washing mushrooms...I do it and many cooks have frowned at me, but I always do it. And the subject of mushroom prep comes up in a piece of fiction I wrote which you have now made me want to track down.
This post of yours seems to reflect your intent to use all the "things" you already have more fully while resisting the accrual of more "things." Good Job. I should read all the books I have, and cook from a few of them too. But as I said, can't I just order a pie?

Molly said...

An Asparagus post!! I cut them, because that's how you always did it (as I recall, anyway). But sometimes they are tough... especially when I fry them with olive oil and salt, which I like sometimes better than steaming.