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This week’s Vegetable Box Feature: Asparagus… a sure sign of Spring in Ontario


Did you know?

  • Asparagus is actually a member of the Lily family.
  • Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and zinc.
  • It takes three years from seed to harvest, so the asparagus you enjoy this year was planted in 2019.
  • White asparagus is not genetically induced in any way but purple asparagus is.
  • It has been said that if you want to avoid a hangover? Eat asparagus! Eating the veggie before you start drinking can help protect your liver. The minerals and amino acids it contains not only protect the liver from toxins, the enzymes in asparagus can help break down the alcohol and alleviate hangovers.
  • There is actually a museum dedicated solely to asparagus. The European Asparagus Museum in Bavaria, Germany contains everything and anything you ever wanted to know about asparagus!


Fun Fact

  • Everyone makes “asparagus pee,” but not everyone can smell it.

Where to Store it?
The best place is in the fridge but it doesn’t last long so it’s important to cook it up sooner rather than later. Before you store asparagus in the refrigerator you want to cut off the bottoms just like you do when you get flowers. This allows for the vegetable to be able to soak up a little water and keep fresh for a few days. Now that you have cut the bottoms of the asparagus it is important to keep them moist. Stand the stems up in a jar with about an inch of cold water. You want to make sure that the ends stay moist but not the whole stem. Wrap the heads loosely with a produce bag or saran wrap. This will keep asparagus fresh for approximately 4-5 days in the fridge.

Preparation
Fine grit can lurk in asparagus tips. To get rid of it, fill a bowl with cold water and soak the asparagus for a few minutes, then rinse off. That should rid the stems of any unpleasant sandiness. Unsure how much of the end to trim off? Let the stalk tell you. Gently bend the asparagus. You’ll be able to feel where it wants to break. Snap off the stalk end as far down as it will easily break.

How to Use:
Asparagus can be enjoyed both raw (a delicious addition to salads) or cooked: boiled/steamed/roasted.

Cooking Tip:
If you only obey one rule, let it be this one: Overcooked asparagus is a sad, mushy experience. Whether you’re steaming or roasting, cook it until it’s just tender.

Recipes:

Roasted Lemon Asparagus with Pecans
Created by:  Joy McCarthy

This asparagus dish is full of yummy flavours!


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar or juice of one lemon
  • 1 to 2 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 2 pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


Instructions:


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

  1. Snap tough ends off asparagus and discard. Place asparagus in a large baking dish or baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and grapeseed oil and roll asparagus around to coat well.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with pecans.

 

Asparagus Frittata with Goat Cheese

Created by: Megan Gilmore

This Frittata is the perfect recipe for a Spring brunch, featuring leeks and creamy goat cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, both white and green parts
  • 8 whole eggs, beaten
  • 2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • Sea salt and pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the olive oil to oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, then sauté the asparagus for 5 minutes. Add in the leeks and continue to sauté until both vegetables are tender, about 5 more minutes.

  1. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat together the eggs with 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt and several grinds of black pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet once the veggies are tender, then sprinkle the goat cheese over the top.
  2. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven to bake until the top is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. It's okay if the middle still has a little jiggle to it, as the eggs will continue to cook for several more minutes once you remove the pan. Slice and serve warm.
  3. You can keep a frittata out on the table for up to an hour for serving once it's reached room temperature, but after that you need to store it covered in the fridge. Leftovers can last up to 5 days, and you can serve them cold or reheated on the stove.

 

Asparagus Salad with Balsamic Glaze

Created By: Endless Meal


This easy asparagus salad recipe is bursting with flavors. You'll love this simple spring salad recipe!

Ingredients:

Asparagus salad:

  • 1 lb asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 ounces salad greens
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 2 TBSP goat cheese (or feta/parmesan or blue cheese)


Balsamic glaze dressing

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP balsamic glaze, balsamic reduction
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 TBSP water


Instructions:
1.
Bring 2-inches of water to boil in a medium-sized pot over high heat. Add the asparagus and set a timer for 2 minutes. Drain the water then rinse the asparagus under cold running water. Drain again then cover the asparagus in cold water. Add a few handfuls of ice cubes to the pot and set it aside.

  1. While the water is heating, make the dressing. Add the oil, balsamic glaze, dijon mustard, garlic, and salt to a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the water and whisk once more.
  2. Place the salad greens, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, and goat cheese into a salad bowl.
  3. Drain the water from the asparagus then use a paper towel to pat them dry. Put the asparagus into the salad bowl, pour the dressing over the top, and toss to mix everything.

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