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James Beard Nominee Ashley Christensen Dishes On What Makes Her Kitchens Tick

Chef and restaurateur Ashley Christensen is a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. It’s her fourth nomination for the award.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Christensen, who has five restaurants in Raleigh, North Carolina, about her career.

Here’s a recipe from Christensen you can try in your own kitchen:

Asparagus and Oyster Mushrooms With Sherry And Cream

Serves 8


  • 3 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds oyster mushrooms, tough stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup amontillado sherry (I like Lustau)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and let sear, stirring a few times, until the moisture they release has evaporated and the edges begin to crisp and they get caramelized. Season lightly with salt.
  2. Add the shallots and thyme and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine and coat everything. Stir in the asparagus, then add the sherry and deglaze the pan by swirling and scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Cook until the liquid is reduced by three-quarters, stirring occasionally; this will take about 3 minutes. Add the cream and let it reduce until it's thickened slightly and coats the asparagus and mushrooms, about another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cold butter.
  3. Stir in the lemon juice, season with salt to taste, and serve immediately.

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