A week after harvesting 11 pounds of organic asparagus, I’m pleased to say that more than half of it is gone. Relieved, too, because even though we’re a family of five, I wasn’t sure we how we would fare against the mountain of spear-stuffed mason jars lurking in our fridge. Every time I opened the door, a new doubt crept in. Had we picked too much? Would my kids would set their forks down in protest?
Thankfully they didn’t, and for this I credit the vegetable’s inherent versatility. Most of us serve steamed or boiled asparagus as a simple yet elegant side dish, and so we don’t think of it as flexible. But really, asparagus is up for so much more. This tender spring veggie shines as a main course, as in the Pasta with Asparagus-Lemon Sauce that I wrote about last week. In that recipe, the stems are boiled until tender, then pureed and tossed with lemon zest, parmesan and a little cooking water in an innovative coating for the noodles.
Tonight I served grilled pork chops with sweet corn (not local but I couldn’t resist on such a summery night), plus a side salad from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. The recipe is called Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing, and it was so good when I tried it last week that I made it again for an encore. As written, the recipe calls for a half-cup of sliced radishes and 2 tbsp of thinly sliced scallions, and it is quite yummy that way. Tonight I was out of those ingredients so I substituted diced red peppers for the radishes and skipped the scallions entirely and it was equally good, especially in the eyes of the little ones.
Click here for the recipe for Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing.