The spring brunch season starts with Easter, then moves onto graduation parties, wedding parties and long vacation weekends. That’s where this recipe comes from. It was a request for Easter brunch – pickled asparagus to garnish Bloody Marys. I of course complied. Because quick pickles like these are so easy, but add a very special touch. I happened to find the baby vidalias, the white bulbed, long-stemmed first-crop, at the market, but green onions work just as well, or a shallot.
These are obviously great as a garnish for Bloodys – you can even add some of the pickling liquid to your tomato base, but can also be used to garnish a spring martini. They are also delicious eaten on their own, so feel free to put some out on a relish tray or a cheese plate. Any leftovers are great cut bite-sized and tossed in a salad.
Look for the young, slender asparagus tips, sometimes called sprue, rather than the thick woody spears.
2 bunches young asparagus tips
Peel of one lemon
2 baby vidalia onions, baby onions or 4 green onions
2 cups white wine vinegar
2 cups water
3 Tablespoons table salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
Clean a one quart jar with two piece lid. Trim the asparagus speas to fit the jar, with the tips just reaching the shoulder, leaving space for the liquid. Thinly slice the bulbs of the Vidalia onions and place several pieces in the bottom of the jar. Peel thin strips from the lemon, with no white pith. Stack the asparagus tips, the remaining onion slices and the lemon peel in the jar. I find it easiest to do this with the jar on its side, so the spears stack on top of each other and stay upright.
Bring the vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a full rolling boil and boil for 2 minutes, until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Carefully pour the liquid over the asparagus in the jar to cover, leaving a ¼ inch head space at the top. Immediately put on the top and screw on the band. Leave to cool 8 hours or so, then refrigerate. There may be more pickling liquid than you need; discard it.
The asparagus will keep unopened in the fridge for 1 month. After opening, use within a few days.
Thanks to the fabulous Mrs. Jones, the official Easter brunch photographer and my style icon.