I have no idea how to plan my wedding. I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know when I’d like to have it, even, and Jim foresees a wedding a bit farther in our futures than I do; though I’m not, honestly, even sure of that—I’m not sure that I don’t want to have a long engagement, except for the nervous but-does-that-leave-enough-wiggle room-in-my-engaged, married for a handful of years before having kids-life plan? and I’m not a life planner. I don’t even know that I want kids.
Getting engaged makes me feel ridiculously ill-prepared for adult life and I’m honestly running on the knowledge of things I’ve seen on TV and the ability to stick fingers in my ears, clamp my eyes shut, and hum until it all goes away.
Though I only feel that way when I start wedding planning; when my heart starts beating a little bit too hard, and I begin to sweat. Because I can go all day thinking about the food and the fun we’ll have but the logistics, I’m not ready for them yet. So for now, I’ll stick to braised asparagus and that warm, comforting feeling that I’m a fiancée who will be able to make a damn-good dinner for her husband, even if she needs to stick fingers in her ears, clamp her eyes shut, and hum over everything else.
Braised asparagus can surely comfort and it’s especially good for these cold spring days we’ve been having, when braised asparagus with slices of gruyère is much more appropriate than quickly blanched stalks with lemon. By braising, you get all of that deliciously woodsy asparagus flavor, it’s just a little quieter, sleepy maybe. The dark green color is a good indication of the taste—darker than quickly cooked asparagus, less biting but deeper too. And really, really good. Good enough to make me feel a little weepy and happy that I have some braised asparagus around to give me a warm, green hug. (Though nothing beats a hug from my fiancé.)
Braised Asparagus with Gruyère Cheese
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 big shallot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup water
- salt, pepper
- gruyère cheese
- parsley, tarragon, basil, or mint, optional
Trim asparagus, peeling the ends if they are large stalks. Mince shallot and garlic together.
Heat butter in a pan with a lid over medium-high heat, add shallot mixture and cook for a minute, until they are softened. Add asparagus, water, and season with salt and pepper then cover pan with lid. Cook until asparagus are very tender, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice gruyère very thinly, using a cheese slicer or y-shaped vegetable peeler if you have one. Chop herb or your choice, if using.
When asparagus is tender, transfer to a plate, pour remaining shallots and sauce over, and arrange cheese slices on top. Season with herbs, salt, and pepper to taste.