April Featured Produce: Asparagus

Asparagus

Once asparagus was a member of the lily family, along with leeks, onions, and garlic. Recently it was made into its own family, the Asparagaceae, but that has not changed its status as the official harbinger of spring for some, nor does that diminish its appeal and wonderful flavor. Asparagus, like fava beans, artichokes, and fresh peas, has a uniquely “green” taste to it that is hard to put into words, but when tasted can evoke so many thoughts and feelings related to fresh growth and springtime. Continue Reading →

Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

ASPARAGUS
2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil or other neutral flavored oil
Salt and pepper to taste

ROMESCO SAUCE
1 cup Marcona almonds, toasted
10 cloves garlic
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons Sambal Olek (see note below)
2 cups roasted red peppers, chopped
Salt to taste

METHOD:

For the Romesco sauce:
Put all ingredients into a blender jar and process until smooth.  Decant sauce into a clean glass jar with lid. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

For the asparagus:
Mix the asparagus with the oil, salt pepper. Grill asparagus the barbeque, turning once. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Place on platter. Serve with lRomesco sauce ladled over top.

SOURCE:  Chef Ken MacDonald of Edgar’s at Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley

Easy Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Parmesan

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup orzo (whole grain orzo is great with this dish)
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

METHOD:

Fill a large sauce pan about 3/4 full of water with a dash of salt added and heat to boiling.

Add the orzo. After 5 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus to the pot and continue to cook another 5 minutes, or until orzo and asparagus are just barely tender. (Do not overcook!) Drain orzo and asparagus and return to the sauce pan.

Stir in butter, chicken stock and cream and heat over medium low heat until butter melts. Add parmesan cheese and stir gently until cheese melts. (Add more cream if you like a saucier orzo.) Season with salt and pepper.