Asparagus Season in the High Country
For those who have established asparagus beds, binging on this delicate vegetable is a spring-time ritual.
Even if you don’t have spears popping up in your yard, they are found fresh at farmers’ markets and less expensive than usual at grocery stores.
Asparagus is loaded with nutrients, being a good source of fiber, folate, vitamins A and K. Also packed with antioxidants, it ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals.
As any asparagus grower knows, the more tried-and-true recipes on hand, the better. Treat yourself to this one that uses Asian flavors with sprits of lemon to add zing.
Asparagus with Lemon-Soy Sauce
1 ¼ lbs. thin asparagus stalks (ends trimmed and cut diagonally into 1 ½-inch pieces)
13 green onions
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
¼ tsp. fresh ginger, minced
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
½ tsp. sugar
Black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. lemon juice to taste
Steam asparagus and 8 green onions in a steam basket over boiling water (or in the microwave with a small amount of water) until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Rinse under running cold water to stop the cooking and set color. Drain and cool.
To make the dressing, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and stir until it begins to color. Mince 5 green onions. Cook half of them for a few seconds. Add broth, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Set aside. Just before serving, place the remaining minced green onions in a large bowl.
Add steamed asparagus and the 8 whole scallions. Bring the dressing to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil 30 seconds. Gradually stir in pepper and lemon juice, tasting, to achieve an appealing tart and peppery flavor. Toss the vegetables with the dressing. Makes 4 servings.
This recipe is from Eddy Labus, our livestock extension agent who also grows asparagus.
Asparagus and Pasta
6 oz. angel hair pasta
2 cups asparagus cut in 1 in. pieces
1cup mushrooms sliced
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
1 ½ cup milk
½ cup Swiss cheese grated
¼ cup parmesan grated
(Optional pepper flakes to taste)
Sauté asparagus and mushrooms. Cook pasta as directed, drain and keep hot. Melt butter in saucepan and whisk in flour, after smooth add milk and stir until it starts to thicken, then add Swiss and parmesan cheese. Add sauce into pasta with the asparagus and mushrooms.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with NC Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. For more information, email email@example.com, or call (828) 264-3061.