r i p e

Asparagus Baked in Parchment Paper    (printer friendly)
Serves 4

Asparagus Baked in Parchment Paper24 asparagus spears (at least 1/2 inch in diameter), tough ends trimmed and stalks peeled
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tarragon sprig

12 salted capers
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 175°F. Spread a 2-foot-long sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Arrange the asparagus spears in a neat, even pile on the parchment. Drizzle oil over the asparagus and sprinkle with the sugar. Season with salt and top with the tarragon sprig. Fold the paper over the spears and tuck the ends under themselves to form a tight package; secure the package with kitchen string.

2. Bake the asparagus for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it feels very tender when pressed through the parchment.

3. Meanwhile, soak the capers in water for 1-2 hours. Pat dry and coarsely chop. In a small bowl, blend the mayonnaise, heavy cream and chopped capers; season the sauce with salt.

4. When the asparagus is cooked, carefully cut the parchment paper open and transfer the asparagus to a platter. Mix the cooking juices into the sauce, pour over the asparagus and serve.