The next few months on CBC radio will have me focusing on seasonal eating and all the good foods to celebrate at farmers markets. Eating food that is harvested in season means you get the best flavour, texture and nutritional content of that fruit or vegetable. It also means your dollars help support businesses and people in your community, and that’s a good thing.
This morning on Edmonton AM, I spoke with Mark Connolly about asparagus, a vegetable first grown in Greece more than 2,500 years ago, and one full of vitamins and minerals (listen here). You can find it in pockets of Edmonton’s River Valley between mid May and end of June, but most people get it at farmers’ markets. The arrival of asparagus at the markets signals the start of spring and of good things to come.
Google “asparagus recipes” and you will be rewarded with more than 45 million recipes, most of which recommend grilling or roasting, but keep scrolling, this vegetable can be used a variety of ways.
I love to eat it raw and it seems kids do, too, especially if you provide a dip (even something like hummus) to go alongside. Shaving the spears using a mandolin is a great way to incorporate asparagus into a salad as well. Slice it (or shave it), add some red onion, avocado and spinach and toss with the dressing of your choice. Super simple.
In Alberta, Edgar Farms is the largest producer of asparagus but you will find some smaller operations offering it at their booths, as well. This will probably be the last weekend to get asparagus at the farmers’ markets but I saw BC asparagus at the CO-OP store in Leduc, yesterday, so not sure how long that supply will continue.
If you have leftover grilled asparagus, a good way to incorporate it into a brunch recipe is in a frittata (or frittata cups, like I did, and shown below). I didn’t follow any recipe, but this recipe from Tin Eats is very similar. Just add the asparagus instead of (or along with) the spinach, and substitute grated cheddar for feta, and 1/2 cup salsa for the tomatoes. Don’t be afraid to try different combinations; there really is no wrong way to go about this.
I want to try a recipe tip from chef Alexei Boldireff (formerly of Baijiu) who recommends a quick sauté in peanut oil. It doesn’t get much easier than this: