Valley Bounty, May 16: Asparagus
Count yourself lucky to live in a place where the season’s premier crop is available at dozens of roadside stands! Although as recently as 1989 we grew more asparagus than we consumed in the US, we now import 90% of our asparagus. To help you buck that trend, we offer a panoply of recipes below. If simple steamed asparagus is your favorite, try varying the toppings: mix a little lemon juice and chopped chives with melted butter; drizzle your spears with a thinned aioli; or toss with a tarragon vinaigrette and chopped almonds.
CISA’s list of asparagus producers is here. Find it at farmers’ markets and retailers that prioritize local sourcing, as well.
The Hatfield Agricultural Commission has put together a brochure celebrating asparagus, with information about the six stands selling asparagus in town, and the three town restaurants featuring Hatfield asparagus on their menus this weekend. Download it here.
Our collection of asparagus recipes, many created by local fans and cooks, is here. Hatfield’s asparagus celebration also includes a recipe for roasted asparagus bundles with ham from Good Stock Farm.
I’m a fan of cold leftover asparagus with a little oil and vinegar dressing for lunch. Or leftover asparagus with scrambled eggs and goat cheese. But if you can resist these temptations, it’s also easy to freeze your dinner leftovers. Better yet, buy a couple of extra bunches, cut into pieces, and dunk them into boiling water for just a couple of minutes. Scoop them out and drop into a sinkful of cold water, dry them, and put them in the freezer in sturdy ziplock bags or other containers. Frozen asparagus is good sautéed with garlic or in soups in the winter—but never as good as it is right now, so have some more tomorrow!