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Seasonal spotlight :: Asparagus three ways, three days

It’s asparagus season folks, which means that now is the time to stack these spears high on your plates. Peel your eyes and you should notice asparagus in abundance at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. If you haven’t already, I urge you to take advantage of seasonal foods like these, when they’re at their peak in flavour and in nutrition.

Asparagus is no exception in the world of nutrient-dense vegetables. It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, folate and thiamine and is rich in antioxidant nutrients beta-carotene, vitamin C and selenium. Add that to the fact that asparagus is delicious, it also packs 3 g fiber per cup for a mere 3 calories per spear. I’d call that a bargain.

When choosing asparagus  Look for straight stems, bright green colour and tight tips. Avoid bottoms that are woodsy or dry.

Storing asparagus  Keep in the fridge, wrapped in a damp towel or in a jar with an inch of water so the ends don’t dry out.

Enjoy asparagus 3 different ways

I love asparagus. But when it comes to seasonal produce we tend to buy enough to last us weeks. So it’s important to know how to repurpose  your vegetables and leftovers, so you can enjoy them in new ways. The idea here is simple: purchase a seasonal ingredient along with some complementary ingredients and learn to enjoy simple, tasty variations throughout the week. Today’s star ingredient is asparagus. You’ll also need parsley and parmesan.

  • Day 1: Grilled asparagus

    This is my favorite cooking method for asparagus. Try it as a side dish with anything from salmon to poached-eggs.
  • Day 2: Grilled asparagus frittata

    Use leftover grilled asparagus as the star in this frittata.
  • Day 3: Asparagus frittata sandwich

    Use leftover asparagus frittata as the star ingredient in this sandwich.

 

 

 

 

Grilled asparagus

Grilling brings out the natural sweetness of the asparagus. A must try.

Servings: 4- 6  Cook time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For garnish: Parmesan curls (you can use a vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan)

METHOD

  1. Wash the asparagus, pat dry and snap off the woody stems with your fingers. (Snap them about an inch from the bottom or wherever the spear naturally breaks)
  2. Add the asparagus to a pot of boiling water, cook for 2 minutes and drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the asparagus with the olive oil, parsley, chili flakes and the salt.
  4. Transfer the asparagus to a hot grill, turning them every minute or so or until you have nice grill marks. About 3-5 minutes total.
  5. Transfer asparagus to a serving plate, top with shaved parmesan and serve.

Grilled asparagus frittata

This is a simple and quick recipe, perfect for a busy weeknight.

Servings: 2-4   Cook time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS

  •  4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons free flat leaf italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup grilled asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to broil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, parsley and parmesan. Set aside.
  3. In a 9 inch oven proof sauté pan over medium heat, cook the onion in the olive oil for about 3 minutes, stirring until translucent.
  4. Add the chopped asparagus, let warm through for 1 minute. Spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  5. Gently pour the egg mixture into the pan, turn the heat to medium-low and cook until the bottom is firm but the top is still runny. About 3 minutes.
  6. Place the sauté pan under the broiler for 2 minutes, or until the top is cooked through.
  7. Slice into wedges and serve.

Asparagus frittata sandwich

Growing up, the frittata sandwich was my family’s version of an egg sandwich.  Perfect way to repurpose leftovers and brown-bag it for lunch the next day.

INGREDIENTS

  • Asparagus frittata
  • Small tomato, sliced
  • 2 slices Parmesan chesse
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread (I used sprouted baguette but any bread will do)
  • Extra virgin olive oil

 METHOD

  1. Slice the asparagus frittata into thin wedges.
  2. Dress your bread with frittata, sliced tomato,  parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Enjoy!

 

 

Have you ever grilled asparagus? Do you ever wind-up with tons of an ingredient?

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One Response to Seasonal spotlight :: Asparagus three ways, three days

  1. Kaitlin June 19, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Wonderful post on 3 great, simple ways to enjoy asparagus. Would LOVE for you to link this up at Sunlight Sunday featuring asparagus if you get the chance! :) (Along with any other recipes you have)
    http://www.thegardengrazer.com/2012/06/sunlight-on-asparagus.html

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