Sticking with the asparagus theme here this week, I had another lunch with limited time as usual.  I really wanted to make something light and delicious but had not a clue of what to make.  I normally don't think about what I'm going to make until I have already gathered my ingredients, which I know can sound a little backwards.  One of the luxuries of working for my boss. Sometimes I just having a really hard time on deciding what to prepare.  I knew I wanted to use lots of vegetables and probably along with a nice piece of fish.  Kona Kampachi is a great Hawaiian fish with lots of oil so it stays nice and moist.  It also can maintain a nice natural crust because of that oil.  On my drive over to work I thought of gazpacho and thought why not make it with asparagus instead of tomatoes.  The term gazpacho is used a little loosely here but it is definitely inspired by gazpacho.

1 lb of cleaned Kona fillet portion into 4 oz pieces

3 tbsp olive oil

Asparagus "Gazpacho"

3 bunches of large asparagus

1 1/2 cup of plain yogurt

2 tbsp of sherry vinegar

1 small cucumber de-seeded

1/4 cup of parsley leaves

1/4 cup of basil leaves

1 lemon juiced

Salt

Vegetables

1 cup of fresh English peas blanched

8 baby carrots peeled, shaved, and blanched

1/4 cup of mini melon ball cucumbers (Parisienne )

8 oz Mitake mushrooms roasted, 2 tbsp of each butter and olive oil

1/3 cup of fresh croutons

4 hard boiled eggs quartered

2 red radish sliced thin

Tops of asparagus peeled and blanched

1/4 cup of fried basil leaves (small leaves)

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and Pepper

For the Asparagus "Gazpacho"

Take the bottoms of the asparagus and cut away and discard if the color is white and they are really fibrous.  Then cut the tips off leaving about an inch of stalk on the tip.  Save the tips for blanching and reserve for later.  You should be left with the rest of the asparagus stalks.  Take your vegetable juicer and juice the asparagus stalks.  Then take the small cucumber with the seeds removed and juice that.  You should be left with about a cup and half to two cups of juice.  Take your juice and place in the blender with parsley and basil leaves.  Puree until smooth.  Season with salt.  Then in a bowl place your plain yogurt.  Add half of the liquid and stir until smooth.  Keep adding the liquid until you have a smooth sauce like consistency.  I ended up using all of my juice.  Finish the gazpacho with sherry vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. 

Preheat Oven 425 degrees

For the Mushrooms,

Simply add olive oil,butter, and mushrooms to a medium hot oven proof pan.  Saute for 2 minutes, season with salt and pepper and place in the oven.  Roast the mitake mushrooms for 15 minutes until they get really crispy, almost like chips.  Take and set aside until ready to use.

Carrots, Peas, and Asparagus tips.

Simply blanch each vegetable in boiling salted water and shock in an ice bath.  Set aside until ready to plate.

To Plate,

In a large medium hot saute pan add 3 tbsp of olive oil.  Season the Kona fillets with salt on both side.  Place the fillet side face down in the pan (skin side up facing you).  Cook the Kona for roughly 6 to 7 minutes on this side until the edges become really brown and a crust forms.  You want to cook the fish 95 percent of the way on this first side.  You might have to adjust the heat to medium so the fish doesn't burn.  You want a hot enough pan where a crust can form but not hot enough where the fish burns and the meat is not cooked.  Then flip the fish over and let fish finish cooking for about a minute or less. 

In the meantime ladle a few spoonfuls of the gazpacho into a shallow bowl.  In a bowl take your shaved carrots and toss with a little olive oil and salt.  Place around the gazpacho.  Repeat the same steps with the asparagus tips, radish, english peas, and cucumbers.  Add the croutons and mitake mushrooms around the plate.  Add a wedge of hard boiled egg that has been seasoned.  Place the fish in the middle of the bowl.  Finish the plate with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and the fried basil leaves.  Serve and enjoy this wonderful spring dish!

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