I have always liked asparagus, and long before produce was available year round due to shipments from across the globe, spring was the only time to get it. I still prefer to buy my produce when it is in season locally for the best flavor so now is the time. Like most people I usually have it steamed as a side dish, but there are so many things you can do with it.
The California Asparagus Board's website is "stalked" with information such as the nutritional benefits (vitamin C, folic acid, thiamin and vitamin B6 as well as the body's most potent cancer fighter, Glutathione), cooking and buying "tips" (that pun was their's) and of course plenty of recipes. They even have a kids page with activities and recipes for kids including the suggestion to save up the green parts you break or cut off of the stalks and substitute them for zucchini in your zucchini bread recipe.
On a whim, I bought six plants last year planting half and giving the rest to my mother-in-law. Last year I had a few skinny stalks push up, but I left them alone. This year I saved a few stalks from the snails and from my rambunctious 3 year old that didn't notice them as he barrelled through the garden. There wasn't enough for all of us to eat or to add as a main ingredient in one of the recipes below, so I have thrown them in things like stir frys, or mixed in with my macaroni and cheese (yum!). Then I read my new Organic Gardening magazine and found out I wasn't supposed to pick them again this year - oops! Well, it's either time to hit the store or farmer's market, or bookmark these recipes for next year.
Besides steamed, my other favorite way of preparing it is Asparagus Beef, a simple stir fry Ma'am learned to make at a Chinese Cooking class she took maaaaaaaaany years ago. Trust me, pound the flank steak and choose the skinniest stalks of asparagus you can find to make this dish the best it can be.
Sunset magazine recently had a recipe for an Asparagus Teleme Tart that sounds quite tasty. I've never thought of doing anything with teleme other than schmeering it on some sourdough bread for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner, but that's another topic. And while I was perusing the My Recipes site for the tart recipe I stumbled on this recipe for Marinated Asparagus which sounds like it would be a wonderful side dish for a barbecue.
Hopefully I have inspired you to try asparagus if you never have or to try it in a different way. As always, please e-mail me any recipes you'd like to share at [email protected].
Until next time, happy eating!
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