Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Salads For Spring: Two Delicious Asparagus Salads

Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to pop up in the garden in the spring. This week we have recipes for two different salads using asparagus.

asparagus salad with portabella mushroom and violet flowers

Photo: Alycin Bektesh (for WFIU)

A beautiful asparagus and portobello salad with a splash of color from some purple violet flowers sprinkled on top.

Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to pop up in the garden in the spring.

“And it’s always exciting to see those first little tips coming up,” Chef Daniel Orr tells us. “It’s amazing how they grow, because one day, there will be nothing, and the next day, there will be all these little asparagus tips coming up.”

They grow haphazardly all over the garden, two stalks here another one over there…

“One of my old managers, when she first saw them growing, she said ‘I thought they grew in bunches.’ She’d never seen them growing, so she thought they grew just like they did in the super market.”

Storing And Preparing Asparagus

Once you’ve harvested your asparagus (or brought it home from the market) keep it upright in a glass of water and it will keep for about a week in the fridge.

We have recipes for two different salads using asparagus on the podcast this week, but no matter how you’re planning to use your asparagus, here’s a tip for finding the tender part:

Just gently bend the stalk until it snaps. Use the top part in your cooking, but don’t throw away the tougher bottom-half! You can turn those into a soup — just add some cream, seasonings of your choice, and blend!

More Asparagus Tips: Planting and Pickling Asparagus, Preserving Your Spring Harvest

Spring Salad of Grilled Asparagus And Portobello Mushroom

Here’s a simple grilled asparagus dish (as pictured above) with portobello mushroom and a garnish of spring flowers.

Directions:

  1. Place asparagus and portobello cap on the grill.
  2. Grill asparagus until they start to blister and have a little carmelization around the edges. Tip: grill vegetables dry and marinate after grilling, not before. This keeps the fire from flaring up out of control and burning the asparagus.
  3. Remove from grill and stack several asparagus tips on top of the portobello on a plate.
  4. Frame the portobello and asparagus with a bit of your favorite vinaigrette.
  5. Marinate the asparagus with a little lemon vinaigrette (one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil, salt and pepper – to taste).
  6. Finish with basil oil and a wedge of grapefruit to squeeze on top.
  7. Garnish with purple violet flowers and fresh wild greens.

Local Eggs, New Potatoes, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Asparagus

  1. Cut 6-8 new potatoes into little pieces and snap the tips off of the asparagus.
  2. Boil asparagus tips and new potatoes in lightly salted water until cooked through. They should be a little bit crunchy, not too soft.
  3. Place a little bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan, and fry the eggs. Cover the pan with a plate as the eggs cook.
  4. Cover a plate with some spring lettuces from the garden. Put asparagus and potatoes on top of the lettuce to wilt.
  5. Cut up some goat cheese to put around the plate (we’re using the Wabash Cannonball, a goat cheese from Capriole Farms)
  6. Drizzle a little good extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of your favorite vinegar.
  7. Serve with the sunny-side up egg on top and some nice crusty bread.

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Earth Eats Staff

Earth Eats Staff is a weekly podcast, public radio program and blog bringing you the freshest news and recipes inspired by local food and sustainable agriculture.

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