Spring has finally arrived in the Kansas City area! Springtime is my favorite time of year. The flowers and trees are blooming, the grass is growing and the local farmer’s markets are open. One of my favorite activities on Saturday morning is to visit my local farmer’s market to see what kind of goodies will grace my table this week. This week I found asparagus, green onions, radishes, tomatoes, micro greens, spinach, kale, braising greens, lettuce greens and fresh eggs!

Asparagus  is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C and vitamin A. Folate is an essential B vitamin necessary for proper cellular division and DNA synthesis. Folate is also essential for cardiovascular health.

Asparagus helps to reduce phlegm and mucus, eases constipation and soothes internal membranes. Asparagus also contains glutathione and is therefore an important anticarcinogen.

When buying asparagus look for bright green, fresh-looking spears with compact tips. Store asparagus in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. It is best to wrap the bag tightly around the asparagus removing excess air.

Grilling or sauteing is the best way to enjoy asparagus.

Two of my favorite recipes:

Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Serves 6

11/2 lb asparagus, tough ends removed
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Vinaigrette
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
sea salt, to taste
ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place unpeeled garlic cloves in small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast garlic until soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly then peel and mince. Transfer to small bowl.

Whisk together garlic, vinegar, and Dijon. Slowly whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Place asparagus on skewers (to make them easier to flip on the grill) and use a brush to oil both sides. Sprinkle with salt. Grill 5–7 minutes on each side or until asparagus is done.

Arrange asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle vinaigrette over top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

One Pan Rotini with Spring Vegetables

Serves 4

One cup of thawed frozen peas can be used in this recipe in place of the canned. Add 2/3 cup more vegetable stock in place of the canned pea liquid.

1 (15oz) can young, small peas
2 cups vegetable stock
8 oz rotini pasta
8 oz trimmed asparagus, sliced on the diagonal (about 2 cups)
1 bunch scallions, sliced
freshly ground pepper  

Drain peas, reserving liquid. Set peas aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, combine reserved liquid and veggie stock. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Stir in rotini, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 minutes.

Add asparagus, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until asparagus is tender. Stir in scallions and reserved peas. Cook, uncovered, until peas are hot and most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.

Barb’s notes: don’t let this sit too long covered….it gets too mushy.