News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Akron Children's Hospital

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Lifestyle




What Van Gogh might have had for lunch
In spring, asparagus becomes a work of art in Dutch cuisine
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Chef Doug Katz of the Cleveland Museum of Art's Provenance Restaurant designed a special menu to complement the Van Gogh exhibition that closes at month's end.
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

We have seven weeks left to enjoy spring, but only three to enjoy a taste of Holland at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

A special menu at the museum’s restaurant, running concurrently with a Van Gogh exhibition, celebrates the season as well as the painter’s culinary heritage. 

WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports in today’s Quick Bite on a springtime meal he might have enjoyed in his native land.

LISTEN

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:59)


Chef Doug Katz can relate to Van Gogh’s need to revise and refine in the search for perfection.

It happens in his art form, too.  

“You’d want to add something, or change it, or tweak it. Repetition really comes into the kitchen every day.”  

One of the items on Katz’s Van Gogh prix fixe menu at Provenance is inspired by the artist’s practice of what he called “repetitions.” More than 30 works of the genre have been on view at the art museum since early March.

Tulips and asparagus
Katz's  menu is not only Dutch like Van Gogh, it repeats like him, too. “Van Gogh actually painted the same scene many different ways or many different times. So we’re using green and we’re using white asparagus and in a way that represents repetition.”

Why asparagus? For one thing, the chef says the Dutch love it.

“When you think of tulips, you think of Dutch and you think of asparagus. These are spring things.” 

And pretty things. Another reason why he’s using both emerald green and ivory white spears.

“It just adds a nice complement of color to the plate. And really the difference with white asparagus is that it doesn’t see the light. It’s actually buried in the soil so it stays white.”   

Asparagus is so prized in Holland they call the white variety “white gold.” Every spring they hold festivals to welcome the stalks as they emerge from the soil.

Texture is the primary concern
In researching Dutch cuisine for his menu, Katz envisioned Van Gogh at lunch.

“I think he certainly would have enjoyed asparagus.”   

In assembling his asparagus salad, Katz’s first concern is the vegetable’s texture. 

That’s a snap. He just holds the stalk in both hands and bends it.  

“And it will snap where it’s tender, and then this part you actually would use on your plate,” he says, holding up the top end of the spear.

But he still has to peel each and every one. “They are a little bit tough. They have that celery skin sometimes.”

It’s time for repetitions, just like Van Gogh. Over and over Katz picks up spears and peels, letting the shavings fall onto an over-turned deep metal pan. 

No waste
“It’s easier to do it on a surface that’s sort of up a little bit and you have better control. You hold the asparagus and you’re able to get at the part that you want to peel."

But nothing has to go to waste.

“These shavings are great if you just poach them in milk. You could do a great spring pasta with white and green asparagus with maybe a little bit of ham or prosciutto, with a little lemon zest.”  

Juicing, he suggests, is yet another way to use those asparagus shavings and not lose their nutrients.

Chef Katz uses different techniques for the two kinds of asparagus. The green spears are blanched quickly in water brought to a roiling boil.

“You let it just cook until it comes back to a boil, and then you shock it in cold ice water. And that sets the color and it sets the tenderness of the vegetable.  And when you’re using it for cooking you can actually roast it at that point and it keeps its color really nicely.”  

Milk adds richness
For white asparagus, the blanching’s done in milk heated to a simmer. You don’t want it to scorch.  

“You want it just to start frothing. Then you would add your asparagus to the milk.”  

Blanching asparagus in milk is a classic Dutch technique for adding richness to the asparagus.

“The acidity in the milk helps tenderize the asparagus. We add salt to that milk and you could add some spice to that as well if you wanted.”  

To know when it’s done you have to watch closely. 

“It’ll actually start to bend on its own when it’s cooked.”

And that shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. 

Endive for the salad is Belgian, not quite Dutch but close enough. In order to treat the leaves as gently as possible, Katz smears hollandaise into the bottom of a mixing bowl.  

“You can blend them much more easily when you have the dressing in the bowl first. You don’t over drench your greens.”

A pretty plate
In Holland they’re big on preservation, so that’s also represented on the salad plate.

“We have some pickled onions and some pickled fennel, and that will add a great acidity to the salad.”  

Quartered deviled eggs add even more color.

“We are in an art museum so we want to make it look beautiful.”

Other Dutch specialties on the Van Gogh menu include split pea soup, steamed mussels, braised beef, and for dessert, dutch buttermilk pudding and spice cake with poached pears.

Katz says delving into Dutch cuisine enhanced his appreciation of Van Gogh. He’s loved the museum ever since visiting his grandmother there as a child. She was a volunteer at the reception desk for many years,

“At a young age you look at the paintings for the beauty of the painting, whereas now I’d say there’s more depth of knowledge." 

Does he sometimes  leave the kitchen to take a look at the Van Goghs for inspiration for his own art?

"I like to. Cooking doesn’t always allow the time to do that. You have to make the time, just like you have to make the time to experience the art.” 

There’s not much time left for Van Gogh’s Repetitions, though, or the special menu that complements it.  The exhibition closes on May 25th.

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite. Next week our subject is soul food.

(Click image for larger view.)


Related WKSU Stories

'Van Gogh Repetitions' unfolds at the Cleveland Museum of Art
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University