Test Cook Report – Ed Begley Jr’s Citrus Dressed Asparagus

The wonderful and lovely Pamela Hutchinson from the most excellent Silent London website

sent a really fun account of her testing of the Ed Begley recipe that will feature in the Columbo cookbook.  The mention of Beyonce’s lemonade master cleanse really made me laugh!

Pamela’s book about Pandora’s Box was published on the 8th November, and I am very much hoping that Santa Claus will be popping a copy in my stocking…

 

Here’s Pamela’s account of her asparagus and Columbo watching combo…

This was a fun night! We really enjoyed the episode, especially Tyne Daly,

and of course Shera Danese as Geraldine Ferguson.

Her repartee with Columbo was excellent – no doubt because Danese and Falk were married for so long. We both agreed that Columbo was even better then we remembered and we were glad you gave us a nudge to watch an episode. We hadn’t seen one in ages!

We loved the episode guide and completely agree that Daly says “piss” and that Geraldine’s loungewear was extremely covetable. We were also glad to be making a dish with orange juice in it, as Geraldine drinks Bucks Fizz and Susan Endicott drinks fresh OJ in bed with Irving Krutch. It’s more than a coincidence!

Sooo … we were inspired by the Italian theme of the episode and served the asparagus as a side dish to a spicy tomato and aubergine spaghetti. There were just two of us, so we halved the quantities.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler, although when you look at it you realise that you have to make a few judgments yourself – how long to steam the asparagus (not very long in our case as our spears were spindly!) and how much cayenne pepper to add to the dressing. Ed was trusting us to make the right call and not let him down. I liked that he didn’t specify fresh orange juice – ours was from a carton – but we did have fresh lemon juice, at least. I erred on the side of caution with the spice, having overdone it with the cayenne in a chilli the night before! I should have measured it, but I think I added about a third of a teaspoon. And quantity-wise one bunch of asparagus was just right for two as a side dish.

I’ll be honest – we were both worried that it would be too acidic and sharp. Lemon juice and cayenne pepper together made me think of Beyoncé’s lemonade master cleanse, and you can’t go wrong with olive oil and s&p for asparagus after all – but we were very pleasantly surprised. We did get the occasional kick at the back of the throat from the cayenne pepper, but overall the flavours worked beautifully – adding a splash of citrus but not overpowering the asparagus. I’d make it again, although Nick felt it could have been stronger, and was perhaps missing an ingredient. He says: “Needed just one more thing sir, just one more thing.” He’s a wag. Maybe I should have been more generous with the cayenne pepper.

Thanks to you and Ed for a tasty meal and a fun detective story.

Well, thank YOU, Pamela, for your fab report on your Columbo night, very glad that you enjoyed re-discovering the Lieutenant.  Lots more test reports coming up on the blog as we hurtle towards Christmas….

 

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