Savoring the Seasons: Happy asparagus season!

  • METRO CREATIVE GRAPHICS

  • METRO CREATIVE GRAPHICS

For The Recorder
Published: 5/17/2016 2:11:50 PM

If you’re like me, you’re enjoying your own personal annual “eat asparagus every day of the week” festival! So far, I’ve focused on steamed asparagus, but the season is still young and I’m hoping friends will share grilled asparagus. I get several bunches of asparagus, steam it, then eat it while standing in the kitchen gazing out at violets growing in my back lawn. A truly “it’s spring” ritual! After enjoying freshly steamed asparagus, I put the rest into a pyrex dish to cool on the counter, then into the fridge. Then, I have asparagus to add to my take-my-lunch-to-work salads.

When I was 21 and worked irrigating orange groves owned by family friends in the Central Valley of California, planted-by-the-birds asparagus grew wild near the citrus trees. My “other mother”/Mom’s best friend from college, Bev, made sure the farm tractors didn’t hurt the asparagus. I ate LOTS of cream of asparagus soup that year, simpler than this tasty recipe.

Please send me your favorite asparagus recipes!

This week we’re eating …

Asparagus In My
Take-To-Work-for-Lunch Salad

Mary McClintock, Conway

Toss together and dress with dressing of choice:

Fresh spinach, rinsed/torn into bite-size pieces

Mesclun mix (thanks to Maria at Lyonsville Farm, Colrain for growing a very tasty mix and selling it at the Greenfield Farmers Market)

Steamed asparagus, chilled and cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces

Yacon, rinsed, sliced into small chunks (tasty, crisp, moist, sweet root grown in Brattleboro — oldschoolhouseplantery.com/heirlloom-vegetables-and-unusual-edibles.html)

Radishes, sliced (this week, I’m eating Lyonsville Farm red radishes and French breakfast radishes)

Add chunks of protein of choice. For me, last week it was chicken, roasted and cut into small chunks. This week is Bostrom Farm Shoulder Butt Bacon fried and cut into chunks. Next week will be broiled sliced hotdogs from Bostrom Farm. For those who don’t eat meat, sprinkle salad with chunks of feta cheese or slices of locally made hard cheeses. Or sliced hard-boiled eggs. For those who are vegan, this salad is VERY tasty with slices of tofu marinated in tamari and then broiled.

Garden Fresh Asparagus Soup

strongertogether.coop/recipes/
garden-fresh-asparagus-soup/

This lemony asparagus soup is spiced with a touch of curry and gets added richness from “lite” coconut milk and creamy red potatoes. Top it with a dollop of crème fraîche or plain yogurt and serve warm or chilled.

2 T. butter

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

tsp. salt

tsp. curry powder

tsp. ground ginger

Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided

2 C. diced peeled red potatoes

3 C. vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 C. “lite” coconut milk

2 C. -inch pieces trimmed asparagus, (about 1 bunch)

Freshly ground pepper to taste

C. crème fraîche, or reduced-fat sour cream (see note)

C. finely chopped scallion greens, or fresh chives

Melt butter and oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder, ginger, lemon zest and potatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in broth, coconut milk and asparagus. Bring to simmer over medium heat, partially cover and continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree soup with an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches) until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper. Whisk crème fraîche (or sour cream), lemon juice and scallion greens (or chives) in small bowl and garnish with a swirl of it.

Note: Crème fraîche is a tangy, thick, rich cultured cream commonly used in French cooking. Find it in the dairy section, usually near other specialty cheeses. Sour cream can be used as a substitute, or you can make your own lower-fat version by combining equal portions of reduced-fat sour cream and nonfat plain yogurt.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals, and writer/editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to: mmcclinto@yahoo.com




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