It’s been two weeks since I’ve been able to get asparagus at the farmers’ market and I think I’ve consumed about 4 pounds so far. Maybe 3.5. Thus is the nature of eating local!
I’ve also danced around the kitchen celebrating the joys of fresh tabbouleh and making up songs about my excitement over seasonal veggies…specifically the first tomatoes and cucumbers…ahhhhh, nothing compares….
But this post is about asparagus.
First, I have some exciting news. Did you know that you can store asparagus like this for a week?
No need for plastic. No need for refrigeration. They’re freshly cut plants — treat them like you would any other — put them in water! One of my bunches stayed like this for 6 days and was still perfectly ready to eat on that day. Change the water if it’s starting to look cloudy, but I didn’t have any problems with that and although the bottoms looked a little water-logged when they came out, those are too woody to eat anyway and are chopped off. (P.S. This trick works with kale, too!)
Asparagus is a very versatile vegetable. One of the easiest ways to use asparagus is to roast it in the oven. I also had some shallots I gathered at the farmers’ market, and thus, one of the first asparagus recipes came to fruition…
ROASTED ASPARAGUS AND SHALLOTS
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed
- 2-4 shallots, chopped
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 Tbs. and 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400*F.
- Place asparagus and shallots in a bowl, and pour the olive oil and 1 Tbs. of red wine vinegar over them. Toss together.
- Spread the asparagus out on a baking sheet or glass pan in a single layer.
- Bake abut 15 minutes or until bright green and tender. Shake the pan half way through cooking to make sure everything is cooking evenly.
- Upon taking the asparagus out, put the last of the vinegar on them and shake everything together. Add salt and pepper if desired.
I also tried Stir-Fried Wild Rice with Asparagus and Mushrooms. You can find the recipe for that at this link. My mushroom farmer didn’t have shitakes this week (as the recipe calls for), but oyster mushrooms still worked wonderfully! This recipe was very good and tasted even better as leftovers the next day — the herbs had soaked into the mushrooms really well.
However, the best asparagus recipe I’ve used thus far was:
ASPARAGUS SCALLOPED POTATOES (adapted from this recipe)
- 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 15-20 spears)
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 4 white mushrooms, chopped (we used oyster)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion, chopped (we used 2 green onions and 4 scallions)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (we used whole wheat)
- 3 cups milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (we used a mix of cheeses to get this 1.5 cups)
- salt and pepper
- garlic powder (we used dehydrated garlic chunks)
- dried parsley or chives
- Preheat oven to 400* and grease a 13 x 9 baking dish.
- Boil or steam the asparagus until bright green and tender. Drain under cool water to stop cooking. Steam potato slices for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Reserve on the side with the asparagus.
- In a large pot, heat oil and add the onions. Cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms. Cook until they’re tender, about 4-5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flower over the onion and mushrooms. Stir in.
- Add the milk gradually while whisking until a smooth consistency is reached. Add the bay leaf, and cook the mixture over medium heat until it is thick and just about boiling. Whisk throughout this process.
- Stir in one cup of the cheese and keep stirring until it has melted. Add the asparagus and potatoes. Season with the salt, pepper, and garlic until it is to your liking (take out the bay leaf if it will bother you later).
- Put the mixture into the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and your herbs.
- Bake for about 30 min or until the casserole is bubbly.
YUM! And thanks for getting all this started, Mike!!
Happy seasonal cooking to you!!
Also on ‘these light footsteps’:
- It’s Food Revolution Day!
- How does eating local help orangutans?
- Fears, Risks, & Following Our Dreams