Asparagus with Rouille and ‘Nduja “Gremoulata”
Jane Q (Los Angeles, CA) – Chef Bryan Podgorski
Yield: 4 servings
6 oz ‘nduja (recipe follows)
4 oz seasoned bread crumbs
2 bunches asparagus, blanched (recipe follows)
1/2 cup rouille (recipe follows)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the rouille sauce:
(Yields at least 1 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper
1 poblano or serrano pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 pinch of saffron pistols (or substitute ½ tsp powdered saffron)
1 egg yolk
1 cup good-quality olive oil
1 tbsp cabernet vinegar (or good-quality red wine vinegar)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the asparagus:
- Heat a large saute pan on medium heat and add the ‘nduja. Render until it’s browned and a good amount of fat has been released.
- Remove any large pieces of ‘nduja from the pan. Add the seasoned bread crumbs and fry in the renderings.
- Remove and drain well.
- Let the ‘nduja and breadcrumbs stand on paper towels until you’re ready to use them.
- Take the prepared asparagus and grill over high heat until well-flavored.
- Serve over the rouille sauce and garnish with the reserved ‘nduja “gremoulata”. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
For the ‘nduja “gremoulata”:
- If you’re unable to find prepared ‘nduja, you can use Italian charcuterie scraps like the “ends” of salami, coppa and/or pepperoni.
- Combine them in a food processor until they reach a spreadable, paste-like consistency. Add high-quality olive oil if needed to reach the right texture.
For the asparagus:
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
- Sort the asparagus by size into stalks that are thinner than a pencil, and stalks that are thicker. Set the thinner stalks aside.
- Blanch the thicker stalks for 30 seconds, then remove and set aside.
For the rouille:
- Roast the peppers in a 450° oven or over direct heat.
- Remove from heat and place in a sealed container to let cool. (The steam will make it easier to peel the charred skins off.)
- When cool, peel them and discard the skins. Puree the peppers in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Add the garlic cloves, saffron and egg yolk.
- Puree until smooth, then add vinegar and puree to mix.
- Continue running the food processor as you add the oil in a slow stream, so it emulsifies into the rouille.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.