Rural Missouri - May 2018 - 30
Asparagus, a delicious ﬁrst sign of spring's arrival
by Heather Berry |
ome people choose to forage the grocery
store or farmers market for asparagus,
while other cooks like to plant their
own perennial patch. If you decide to
plant asparagus root stock, don't expect
to see green shoots abounding the
next year. It takes about three years to
see asparagus shoots. Once the patch
is established, it should continue producing for many years. If you want a guarantee
of asparagus each spring, plant more root stock
annually. This way, you should harvest spears
When buying asparagus, select bright green
stalks with ﬁrm tips. If you're not eating them
right away, handle the vegetable like ﬂowers,
trimming the ends of the spears, then refrigerate
them upright in a container with about an inch
of water and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
You also can wrap the cut ends in a wet paper
towel and store them in a plastic bag with the
top left open if you plan to use the spears within a day or so.
No matter how you choose to eat the delicate
greens, asparagus adds a wonderful subtle
ﬂavor to many recipes. So give this delightful
spring sprout a try - you're sure to ﬁnd a
favorite way to love these tasty shoots.
FRESH ASPARAGUS QUICHE
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, then
washed and set on paper towels to remove excess moisture
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, then sliced diagonally in bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon pepper
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
One 9-inch pie crust, chilled
1 cup shredded Gruyere, Gouda or provolone cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, melt
butter over medium heat. Add leek and asparagus; season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes to soften vegetables.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt and
pepper. Place pie crust (in pie pan) on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with
cheese; top with asparagus and leek mixture. Pour egg mixture over asparagus/leek layer.
Bake until center of quiche is just set, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
RURAL MISSOURI | MAY 2018
FRESH ASPARAGUS AND TOMATO SALAD
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar (more if desired)
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds fresh asparagus (small to medium thickness), ends trimmed, cut into
10-1/2-ounce package of grape tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled (ricotta is a good substitute)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile prepare vinaigrette - add vinegar to a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil until
mixture is reduced by half, approximately 5 minutes. Pour into a jar or bowl,
then add the sugar, water, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and garlic. Whisk to
blend while seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Note: If thinner
dressing is desired, stir in additional warm water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring and tasting after each addition before adding more water.
Add prepared asparagus to boiling water and allow to boil until tender crisp,
about 5 minutes. Immediately place asparagus in a colander or bowl and rinse
with ice-cold water for a few seconds, then drain very well.
Next, toss the asparagus with tomatoes and walnuts. Drizzle well with vinaigrette and toss lightly. Sprinkle with half of the cheese, then plate, topping
each serving with extra cheese crumbles (so all of the feta doesn't turn brown
from tossing with all the vinaigrette).