Hey, What’s Cookin’?
It’s spring (although Mother Nature is making it hard to believe) and springtime means asparagus. Whether you buy it from the grocer’s or harvest it from your own garden, asparagus is one of spring’s earliest green offerings. Those who eat seasonally know that asparagus signals an end to meals with only root vegetables, and heralds the longed-for arrival of tender, delicious green vegetables.
Asparagus is one of the first vegetables to appear in a garden each spring. It is a flowering perennial plant species in the genus Asparagus. We won’t bother discussing the flowering part–not when there’s so much great nutritional info to learn! This mild-flavored, bright-green veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber. So there’s no doubt that asparagus is a nutritional powerhouse and deserves a place on your plate this spring. Asparagus is usually steamed or roasted, and is quite delicious cooked either way.
But did you know that asparagus is just as tasty eaten raw? You bet it is—and here’s a recipe that’s going to introduce you to enjoying it that way. Asparagus must be very fresh to enjoy raw, so buy the asparagus the same day you intend to serve it. When shoppng for asparagus, check that the stalks are displayed upright with the cut stems in water. Any stalks that are not smooth, round, and firm are older and dehydrated–never buy them that way. Hoever, if they are in your crisper and the stalks are a bit wrinkly, they are still okay to roast, but not serve raw. Asparagus is plentiful in the stores right now, so there’s no reason not to enjoy it at the peak of its freshness!
Don’t be put off by the list of ingredients–the salad comes togther very quickly and is worth all the measuring.
Recipe offered by David Tanis from The New York Times
- 2 tbs rice vinegar
- 1 tbs grated ginger
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbs coconut sugar
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and finely diced (optional)
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper; to taste
- 1 ½ pounds asparagus, washed and dried
- ½ cup slivered scallions
- juice of one lime, to taste
- Mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Cilantro sprigs, for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, stir together rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and coconut sugar. Add the jalapeño and sesame oil, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cut off the bottom inch of each asparagus spear. Slice the asparagus on the long diagonal into very thin slices about 1/4 inch wide. Place asparagus slices in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss lightly. Add the ginger dressing and scallions and toss to coat thoroughly. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Add lime juice 1 tsp at a time, mixing and then tasting after each addition, until you achieve the level of tartness you like.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Garnish with mint leaves and cilantro sprigs (if desired) and serve.
Photograph via the NYT