Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Amazing Asparagus

For the past month I think that we have consumed asparagus every other day.  We have eaten it steamed and served with home-made vinaigrette, blanched and used in pasta sauce, eaten it in a pastry and one of our all time favorites, in soup.   
I was first introduced to asparagus as a small child of five years old.  We had just moved to our ten acre hobby farm when my Mom called me to the ditch, which ran at the side of our property.  Growing there was wild asparagus.  The stalks were thin and wiry.   She showed me how to take a small paring knife and to cut the stalk on an angle just below the surface of the soil so that another spear would shoot up in its place. We were able to harvest it this way for up to six weeks.

Within three years we eventually were able to cut our own cultivated asparagus.  As long as you let it grow into ferns, leave them untrimmed until the frost kills them in the fall, they will eventually grow into the next year’s crop.  Asparagus requires very little attention and can grow in a very small lot.  This makes it an ideal vegetable to grow in an urban setting.  Some people grow it along their fences. 

Asparagus can be grown in all of Canada’s Provinces and in most types of soil.  The Ontario Asparagus Grower’s Marketing Board, Simcoe, Ontario have a fabulous website which informs you about asparagus basics, interesting recipes, as well as links to other info.   http://www.asparagus.on.ca/ .

Asparagus With a Simple Vinaigrette Sauce * my recipe

Take a bunch of asparagus (about 12 stalks) and wash it well * sometimes it can hold a lot of sand and will need to soak for awhile.
Place the asparagus on a cutting board and line up the tips.
Use a sharp knife to cut the spears uniformly at the bottom.  * I don’t snap them off for this recipe.
Place the spears in a skillet and cover them with cold water.
Add salt to taste and bring the pan to a rolling boil.
Let the asparagus simmer for no more than 3 minutes.
Drain the spears as soon as they are cooked and run cold water over them.
I take them out of the strainer and put them onto a clean towel to dry off any excess water.
Arrange the spears on a serving dish.

Making the Vinaigrette.

Combine 1 tablespoon of prepared mustard, salt, pepper and two tablespoons of red wine vinegar and whisk together in a small bowl.
Add ½ cup of olive oil and mix well.
* It is good on its own but sometimes I will add fresh dill if I have any, basil, or tarragon.

To make Asparagus with Aioli check out   http://www.asparagus.on.ca/recipe.php?id=44 *many thanks to The Ontario Asparagus Grower’s Marketing Board for the above photo and recipe.

There is one more thing that I should mention that is peculiar to asparagus; it will make your pee smell.  I am no scientist, so I would suggest if you want to find out more about why this happens check out   Friday Weird Science: Why does asparagus make your pee smell?

Thanks to Alex for the other photographs and especially for sharing some of her fresh garden asparagus. Yum!



Teri Flatley said...

Gloria, love the recipe. I think I will try it. We don't have asparagus growing here, but we did when I was growing up, like you. I can still see the little shoots rising about the grass.

Thanks for the good info.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes!


Anonymous said...

I love your recipe, too! I will make it but, lucky me, my hubby doesn't like asparagus so I get to have all of it to myself!

Alastair said...

Hi Gloria,

Very nice site. I'm looking forward to more stories.

Today I begin one week eating only vegetables. I will be buying some asparagus today and giving your recipe a go. (I grow my own veggies in a Square Foot Garden (http://www.squarefootgardening.com/) but so far haven't tried asparagus.