Asparagus with Pink-Grapefruit Sauce
Total time: 15 minutes
You might have to lick the platter, and that will have to be okay with everyone--the sauce is just so buttery-rich, but also bright, sweet, and fragrant with citrus. It's a perfect match for tender, springtime asparagus--or for broccoli, green beans, or even fish.
1 large bunch of asparagus (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice (from 1/2 a small grapefruit)
1/2 teaspoon champagne or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon freshly grated pink grapefruit zest
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Wash the asparagus and bring a half an inch or so of salted water to a boil over high heat in a wide, lidded pan. Now snap the bottom off of each asparagus spear: there will be a place where it naturally wants to break, a couple inches up from the very bottom, and you will feel this if you bend it a bit. Spread the asparagus out in the boiling water, cover the pan, and cook until just tender. (Check for doneness starting at 3 minutes: stick the tip of a paring knife into one and see if it feels tender. If not, boil another minute or two, moving them around in the pan every once in a while.) Once they're done, pull them out of the pan with tongs and lay them out on a dishtowel to dry while you make the sauce.
In a very small pot, boil the juice and vinegar over medium heat until reduced to around 2 tablespoons, 3 or 4 minutes (you can do this while the asparagus cooks). Whisk in the butter, which will start first to melt and then to thicken the sauce. Whisk in the zest and sugar and 1/4 teaspoon or so of kosher salt (or half as much table salt). Taste the sauce for balance--add a drop more vinegar, sugar, or salt if it needs it--then pour the sauce over the asparagus and serve.