I know for sure spring has arrived when local asparagus appears at farmers' markets. I use recipes from my own book every year, but this season, I wanted to see if someone had an asparagus recipe that was different from my own stand-by recipes.
I hadn't made asparagus recipes from my cookbook since last year, and I didn't bother to check my cookbook at first. But I quickly found an interesting recipe, in Deborah Madison's new book Vegetable Literacy, which, if you haven't looked at it, you simply must.
I picked a recipe called Griddled Asparagus with Tarragon Butter. But the minute I saw it, I thought it would taste better with chives, garlic and lemon. So I changed the recipe a bit and after I had the proportions of ingredients down, I flipped through my own book, only to find Roasted Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic Sauce. It's a bit different, but the flavors I chose are so similar to my recipes, I had to laugh. At least I know what I like.
You can find green and sometimes purple asparagus at the market. I haven't ever seen white but apparently it takes more work since it must be kept in the dark. At the local markets, you find mostly organic and of course, local to Washington. That's why the price seems a bit higher. Five dollars a pound is last year's farmers' market price. But no matter what it costs, it's still worth it to try some local asparagusthis season.
When you get asparagus, stand it upright in a jar and fill the jar a couple inches with water. Then put it the asparagusin the refrigerator. Sometimes it will last a week like this, but I can't usually wait that long.
|My Cooking Assistant loves asparagus bones.|
Side dishes to main dishes
I love recipes that are so versatile, they can be used for a number of dishes. You could probably double the recipe and use the asparagus for more than one dish. I'd add this asparagus to rice dishes, whole grain salads, casseroles, soups and sandwiches. ( Yes sandwiches--which are really quite amazing). Expand your imagination with this one. What will you do with it?
Spicy Asparagus with Lemon-Garlic-Chive Butter
2 pounds asparagus spears, tough ends removed
Oil from Mama Lil's Peppers to season
(or add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne to 1 tablespoon olive oil)
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1 tablesppon finely chopped lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 to 2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance buttery sticks
Crunchy sea salt (Fleur de Sel)
1. Break the tough ends off each asparagus stalk (about 3- to 4- inches). Toss the stalks with Mama Lil's oil until each one is thoroughly coated with oil.
2. Heat a heavy ridged skillet over medium-high heat. When skillet is hot, place spears on the griddle and cook until the bottom begins to brown. Turn them with tongs. No need to be turn one at a time says, Deborah Madison in Vegetable Literacy, just pick them up and redistribute, but remember to keep the heat on medium-high, cooking them for several more minutes, or until they are fork tender.
3. Blend the butter or Earth Balance with the chives, lemon zest and garlic, while asparagus cooks. When asparagus is done, transfer to a platter and gently toss with the Lemon-Garlic-Chive Butter. Squeeze lemon juice over all and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel.
4. Use this as a side dish or slice it and toss with chopped tomatoes and fresh baby spinach into cooked pasta.