Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 35

Who could ask for anything more? Asparagus is low in calories, BY WENDY BIRD sparagus can be found at the grocery store year round, but it is at its blissful peak in the spring, when the earth warms up enough to bring forth a whole new crop of slender green stalks. The tender, vibrant-tasting vegetable heralds spring like no other foodstuff. It provides instant nourishment, without fuss. Ontario’s 125 asparagus growers harvest 10 million pounds of spears a year on 2,500 acres. Most is harvested by hand. At its best, asparagus needs little cooking. A brief flash in the pan or a few moments in a hot oven is all that’s required to take away the slight astringency of the raw vegetable and turn it into a tender-crisp, juicy treat that begs to be dipped in lemon butter or tossed in a luscious salad. Ontario asparagus is available from early May to the end of June. The folks at Foodland Ontario suggest choosing straight, crisp spears with tightly closed green or purple tips. A bunch of asparagus should be treated like a fresh bouquet of flowers. Keep the stem ends well hydrated by wrapping them in damp paper towels, and then enclose the bunch with plastic wrap. One pound of asparagus serves two to four people; five stalks usually makes up a single serving of vegetables. Asparagus is an excellent source of folic acid and is a weight-watcher’s dream: a half-cup of cooked spears contains only 24 calories. Thick stalks are great grilled, while “slender slims” are ideal for a stir-fry. Both are equally tender and flavourful. “Those little bundles in the supermarket, green on the shaft and royally purple at the tip, are our first and best vegetable. Each spear a signpost to summer,” James Barber wrote in his cookbook Peasant’s Alphabet. “We should learn to go past the well-travelled route of sauce hollandaise and take some of the lesser known roads to pleasure and content,” he advised. For a quick treat, brush stalks with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and briefly grill the asparagus on the barbecue. Add cooked asparagus spears to a hot and cold pasta dishes, or simply dress the spears with lemon juice and herbs, such as chives and tarragon. According to The Joy of Cooking, asparagus has affinities for parsley, tarragon, soy sauce, sesame, garlic, ginger, lemon, cream, hard-cooked eggs, parmesan and, of course, butter. The simplest way to cook asparagus is to microwave it: place one pound of spears (make sure to rinse them first and snap off the tough ends) in a microwave-safe dish. Add two tablespoons of stock or lightly salted water. Cover and cook on high until crisp-tender, for four to nine minutes, rearranging the stalks every three minutes. Let stand, covered for two minutes. Devour the brilliant green lengths immediately or let them cool off and serve chilled with a low-fat dip such as hummus or light sour cream and herbs. SL contains no fat or cholesterol, and is very low in sodium. A Asparagus Pizza Preparation Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 8 minutes (Makes 8 slices) 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp granulated sugar Eight to 10 stalks Ontario asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 medium tomato, chopped 1 tsp dried basil Salt and pepper 1 baked 12-inch whole-wheat pizza crust 3 tbsp goat cheese, crumbled Preheat oven to 375F. In frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté onion and garlic until softened and golden, about eight minutes. Add vinegar and sugar; stir. Add asparagus; cook for three minutes. Add tomato, basil, and salt and pepper to taste; cook for one minute. Spread asparagus mixture over whole-wheat pizza crust; top with goat cheese. Place the pizza directly on middle oven rack. (For a softer, chewier crust, bake on cookie sheet.) Bake for six to eight minutes or until crust browns. Broil the pizza for two minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble. Recipe and photograph supplied by Foodland Ontario. Spring 2008 Sudbury Living A bunch of asparagus should be treated like a fresh bouquet of flowers. 35

Sudbury Living - Spring 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sudbury Living - Spring 2008

Sudbury Living - Spring 2008
Contents
Cover Story
People
Decor
At Home
Gardening
Food
Food
Drink
Fashion
Health
Pets
Passions
Arts
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Sudbury Living - Spring 2008
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Cover2
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Contents
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 4
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 5
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 6
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 7
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Cover Story
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 9
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 10
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 11
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - People
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 13
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Decor
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 15
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 16
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 17
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 18
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - At Home
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 20
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 21
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 22
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Gardening
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 24
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 25
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Food
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 27
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 28
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 29
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 30
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Food
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Drink
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 33
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 34
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 35
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Fashion
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 37
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 38
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 39
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 40
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 41
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Health
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 43
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 44
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Pets
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 46
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Passions
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 48
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 49
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 50
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Arts
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 52
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 53
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - 54
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Cover3
Sudbury Living - Spring 2008 - Cover4
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