asparagus ~ 3 ways
April 20, 2012 § 4 Comments
For many, nothing says Spring like Asparagus! Although it grows wild along the ditches bringing water to farms, I’ve haven’t had much luck growing it in my garden. So I rely on a few local farms that grow this perennial short season vegetable. Earlier this month I got some lovely purple spears sent over the Rockies from my friends Max and Wink of Mesa Winds Farm. Max and Wink started their farm with the existing fruit orchards, but they have branched out into wine grape and wine production and raising sheep. If you visit Colorado’s western slope during harvest or winery festivities, you would love staying in a cabin on their farm, starting your day with a breakfast of just gathered eggs and just picked produce or fruit. Heaven on Earth!
It may seem a little worky, but I recommend peeling asparagus rather than just snapping the bottom ends off. You remove just the thin colored skin, which is often fibrous, and you can see exactly how much of the bottom stem is tough (it will appear whiter than the rest of the stem). You can trim as little as 1/4 inch of the bottom or find that the entire stem is tender. I get much less waste and since asparagus can come at a precious price, all the better. Leave as whole spears or chop as you desire.
I roasted (or you can grill) the asparagus for a risotto dish, “blanched and shocked” it for a salad.
This was an easy one pot meal–boil penne pasta and add the asparagus towards the end. Save a ladle of the salted cooking water, drain and toss the pasta and asparagus with feta, olive oil, black and red pepper and a squeeze of lemon; add a little of the cooking water if needed. Another night we had risotto with spicy coppa, fresh herbs and roasted asparagus.
Asparagus, local soft-cooked eggs and bacon, not so local toasted hazelnuts on a bed of over-wintered spinach dressed with a sherry vinaigrette. I actually chilled the soft-cooked eggs, peeled them and then reheated by frying them in the bacon fat, but you can skip the second cooking or poach them instead. I was just playing with my food.