Originally created 05/05/04

Small portions



FRENCH HONOR

NEW YORK - The French Culinary Institute has inaugurated a new program to give recognition to American Culinary Icons with the induction of the late Craig Claiborne as the first honoree.

Their use of "icon," they say, identifies "food and beverage professionals who have had a profound influence on gastronomy in America."

A recent induction dinner at the institute paid tribute to Mr. Claiborne (1920-2000), the food editor of The New York Times for nearly three decades, who also wrote restaurant reviews for the newspaper and was the author of several cookbooks.

A bronze plaque has been designed to commemorate Mr. Claiborne and will be displayed at the institute; the same will be done for subsequent honorees.

GRILLING ASPARAGUS

STOCKTON, CALIF. - Fresh asparagus is one of the options awaiting diners reviewing their grilling menus for this season. The spring vegetable benefits from the slightly smoky flavor it gets from the grill, and its firm but juicy texture works well with this method of cooking.

For grilling, look for large or jumbo spears because they are easier to handle. Bright-green color and closed tips identify good-quality produce.

Brush the spears with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and grill over medium-high heat, turning often, until the asparagus is browned, hot and tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size.