Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alton Brown, Asparagus, and Pot-Bellied Pigs

Asparagus, my beloved first vegetable of the season!  I was looking forward to, and was rewarded, by the variety of the recipes in this episode.  Alton pulled off a good one here; basic ingredient, simple prep and cooking methods, and just enough information to cover all the bases without boring the viewer.  Sadly, asparagus season is pretty much at its end here in Michigan; land of asparagus!

I have always resorted to steamed asparagus as a side dish without ever giving any thought as to how I could dress it up or spice it up a bit.  Alton's microwave steaming method is something I will definitely test soon; especially since cleaning that darn steamer contraption is a pain.   The oven roasted asparagus looks equally good and may just be what I've needed for some veggie variety.  The green terrine looks interesting and would probably be a good appetizer to set out for guests with some toasted French bread rounds or crackers.  I have to ask though, has anyone seen quark at the store?  There is a great selection of cheese at my local market, so I may just have to nose around a bit and see what the Italians have that is similar.  Is it just me or does AB salt the heck out of his asparagus?

I thoroughly enjoyed that Alton spent more time on cooking than on background and extraneous information than the past few episodes.  Sure, Porterhouse Rules had the ingenious Chaplinesque factory scene and Grillus Domesticus would intrigue film students with the back and forth panning during the grilling session, but what I want to see in a cooking show is application.  Understandably, with Alton being first and foremost from the film industry, Good Eats can get carried away with cinematography and comedic elements from time to time.  Don't get me wrong; those are integral ingredients in what makes Good Eats so much better than many of the lame other cooking shows out there and is usually well done.  My favorite episodes are typically those like Age of Asparagus that introduce a little diversity, though there are some that do actually require a whole show due to complex cooking methods like BBQing pork or smoking fish.  Asparagus was successful in maintaining focus while still tossing in small doses of the fun elements, such as the levitating bread pans, 2001 microwave angles, and stinky pee discussion.

p.s.  Does Alton really have a pot bellied pig running around his house now?  For some reason that wouldn't surprise me in the least.  He does love his bacon :-)


tiggergirl19 said...

I have to agree that it was one of the best episodes that he has done. I love that he's the one in charge of how his whole show, per episode, can look, because he knows that he wants the best product shown to the viewers that watch his show. I don't know about the pig, but what was up with the chicken??? I thought that he had a few pet chickens???

Ron said...

Wow, I just cooked the oven roasted asparagus as he did on the episode (which is slightly different than the recipe on the food network site). I even topped it with an egg like he suggested and had a medium rare top sirloin served with it and it was unbelievable. This is my favorite asparagus dish now, i might even have it for breakfast sometime soon! The flavors blend so well it makes me feel like a real chef!!! Highly recommended.

One SAHD Dude said...

Notice he served the eggs Benedict with a side of asparagus? AB's always thinkin' :-)

Liliana said...

I saw quark at the farmers' market only.

One SAHD Dude said...

Thanks Liliana. What state/region are you in? I've still never seen it.