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In the Kitchen: Asparagus is a versatile vegetable
ASPARAGUS

Nothing says spring like asparagus. When I was a little girl, my father loved eating canned asparagus. If you have ever tried canned asparagus, you probably know the one word I think of to describe them: mushy. Needless to say, I grew up thinking I didn’t like asparagus—until I was introduced to freshly steamed asparagus. A new love was born!

The name for asparagus (a member of the lily family) comes from the Greek word meaning “shoot” or “sprout.” Asparagus are not only extremely low in calories (1/2 cup has just 20 calories), but they are also loaded with nutrients. Asparagus contain fiber, Vitamins C, A, K, and E. They also have Folate, Potassium, Phosphorous, Iron, Zinc and Riboflavin. Wow! In addition, asparagus are a good source of Antioxidants which protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. It is time to get more asparagus into your diet. Let’s get cooking!

 

Asparagus and White Bean Salad

3 cups asparagus, cut into 1” pieces

1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

5 radishes, thinly sliced

½ cup feta, crumbled

1 medium shallot, finely minced

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, minced

Dressing:

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon Dijon

2 teaspoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Steam the asparagus in 2-inches of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry the asparagus on a clean kitchen towel.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a bowl, combine asparagus, cannellini beans, radishes, shallots and mint. Pour dressing over all and toss well.

Poached eggs sound fancy, but they are simple to make and are oh, so delicious. In addition, poached eggs on some steamed asparagus with some shaved parmesan and a drizzle of best quality olive oil, and you are sure to be hailed an awesome chef!

Asparagus with Poached Eggs

1 pound asparagus

4 eggs

Best quality olive oil

1 ounce parmesan, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Salt and pepper

Trim asparagus spears. Steam asparagus for 3 minutes. In a large pot, bring water to a gentle simmer. Crack eggs into individual ramekins. One at a time, add eggs to simmering water. Cook eggs for 2-3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove eggs and gently pat dry on a clean kitchen towel. Divide steamed asparagus onto four plates. Top with poached egg and shaved parmesan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Asparagus Frittata

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup shallots, finely minced

1 pound asparagus, cut into 1” pieces

6 eggs

¾ cup whole milk ricotta

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chives, minced

¼ teaspoon dried tarragon

1 cup Gruyere (or Swiss), grated

In an oven-proof skillet, such as cast iron, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until softened, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and cook another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs with ricotta, salt, pepper, chives, and tarragon. Pour over asparagus and shallots and continue cooking until almost set, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese on top and broil for 5-7 minutes, until set.

Roasted asparagus are delicious. You can get fancy and toss them in minced garlic before roasting them, but the main thing is, toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. After roasting them, top with herbs, cheese, or just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Roasted Asparagus 

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. You can either cut up the asparagus into 1-inch pieces, or you can leave them as spears. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until bright green and beginning to char, about 10-15 minutes.