Monday, April 22, 2013

Savory Asparagus Gelato

Asparagus GelatoAsparagus Gelato *Asparagus Gelato **

If you like asparagus and most importantly, if you are adventurous and open to new flavors just like me, this is a “go for” recipe. That sort of thing you surprise your friends with and your taste buds.  Be prepared because this is not the gelato you are expecting.  It’s far from the common concept of gelato and from the sweetness you would flavor from a pistachio or chocolate gelato.  It falls under the savory category but without the salt.  In its way, it is sweet, a different natural sweetness, like that of fresh spring peas, in this case asparagus, with a delicate vegetable taste background.  You won’t serve this as dessert, some do, rather this suits a perfect antipasto and you just need a scoop to enjoy plentiness of flavor.

Asparagus is the protagonist, every other ingredient will rotate around its center to enhance the flavor.  I chose ingredients that I usually would add when serving asparagus as a side dish.  Mint, balsamic vinegar and hemp seeds, just to add a crunch.  In Milan, they make asparagus gelato with gin and nutmeg, others use slivers of parmesan cheese to finish and top.  It's all a matter of preference and gastronomic "savoir faire", you can really play around with the ingredients.  Oh...and surprises are not yet to end because gelato can be made without the use of an ice cream maker.  You just need a pot and a wooden spoon.  An ice cream machine would make the process effortless of course, but things aren't too complicated if you decide to make it without one, as I did.  

Once the gelato batter is ready, as per the recipe below, pour the solution in a freezer cold container with a lid.  Every hour, retrieve it from the freezer and whisk to break the ice crystals as they begin to form.  The same procedure is repeated every hour for 4 times (a total of 4 hours).  You then leave it in the freezer until you decide to serve.  Remove from the freezer 10 minutes beforehand, if it is rock hard, breakdown the ice crystals with your blender and serve.

This was my first time making gelato and my first time trying savory gelato, I am completely enthusiastic about it.  My answer to the question, why asparagus gelato?  It can be tomato, pea or parmesan gelato, I compare it to a choice of cold or warm milk, fresh fruit or jam, sushi or barbecued fish,  It's taste, preference and an overall mind opening towards different ways to eat something tasty and healthy at the same time.  It's also an escamotage to have your children eat vegetables ;-)

Recipe - Asparagus Gelato 
Adapted from Food Network Magazine – Jose Garces


1 kilo asparagus
a pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Balsamic vinegar
Hemp seeds (or sesame/poppy seeds)
Rosemary flowers
Half a pinch of salt (preferably maldon salt – it’s my favorite)

Cut the top 2 to 3 inches from each asparagus stalk; reserve the bottoms for another use.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus tops and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into the ice water, then drain well and transfer to a blender; set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just boils. Remove from the heat and gradually add the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spoon and a thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 10 minutes (do not let the custard boil).

Transfer the custard to the blender with the asparagus and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool completely, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.

Freeze the asparagus custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions or follow the instructions described above if you don’t have an ice cream maker.

1 comment:

  1. A wonderful ice cream and interesting perfume! A great idea.