I just returned from two weeks in the midwest where spring has not quite put down firm roots. When I left Los Angeles, I took with me a wave of warm weather culminating in an 80-degree day two weeks ago Sunday. Sadly, it was downhill from there - a precipitous fall - with two inches of snow this past Monday!
And speaking of eating seasonally, asparagus is a great spring vegetable that's versatile and delicious. Asparagus is best lightly sauteed or roasted until it's just tender. Asparagus loves citrus-y flavors like lemon and orange. It also tastes great with garlic or sesame and ginger.
Here are a few quick and tasty ways to prepare asparagus:
Prep the asparagus by cutting off the woody part of the stalks. Throw the woody ends in the compost. If your asparagus are thick, you may want to peel off the tough, outer skin with a vegetable peeler. You can skip this step for thinner spears.
Sauteed Asparagus with Hard-Boiled Egg
2 T butter
1 bunch asparagus
2 hard-boiled eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt 2 T butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the trimmed asparagus and toss to coat with butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook until the asparagus are just tender, about 4-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears.
2. While the asparagus cooks, peel the shells off the hard-boiled eggs (the shells can go in the compost). Mash the eggs with a fork and set the eggs aside.
3. When the asparagus is done, remove them to a warm plate. Drizzle any melted butter from the skillet over the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Then sprinkle the mashed up, hard-boiled egg over the asparagus.
Sauteed Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce
Melt 2 T butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add the trimmed asparagus and toss to coat with butter. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover and cook until the asparagus are just tender, about 4-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears. Remove the asparagus to a warm plate, sprinkle with a little salt and set aside. Add 2-3 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice to the skillet. Quickly whisk in 2-4 T butter, whisking until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Pour over the warm asparagus and serve.
This afternoon, I was chatting with Rachel, who grows Silver Lake Farms' fantastic micro-greens. We both agreed that slow-cooked scrambled eggs are fabulous with lightly sauteed asparagus tips.
Slow Scrambled Eggs with Sauteed Asparagus Tips
1 T butter
1 C asparagus tips
6 extra-large eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter over low heat in a 10-inch skillet. Add asparagus tips. Toss to coat with butter. Cover and cook 1-2 minutes.
2. While the asparagus tips are cooking, whisk the eggs in a medium bowl.
3. Add the eggs to the skillet with the asparagus and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the eggs are just set (or to your liking). This might take as long as 10 minutes, but it will produce very creamy scrambled eggs.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You might want to add some finely chopped onion to the skillet at the beginning with the asparagus tips. Saute until the onion is translucent.
Another delicious addition is crumbled goat cheese. Stir this in toward the end, just before the eggs set.
This week's bounty included:
From Underwood Family Farms: Napa cabbage, candy-striped beets, rainbow chard, purple kale, green romaine lettuce, orange carrots, fennel, oranges, and asparagus.
From Sage Mountain Farm: heirloom spinach, golden heirloom beets, Tuscan kale, fire red leaf lettuce, purple scallions, baby heirloom leeks, Joi Choi Pak Choi (pictured above), and heirloom Italian green garlic.
Rancho Santa Cecilia supplied the Hass avocados.
And Silver Lake Farms provided radish micro-greens.