The sections below were copied with permission from Mi Ae Lipe’s Tastes from the Valley to Bluff: The Featherstone Farm Cookbook (2008).
Wrap unwrapped asparagus in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator vegetable crisper. Use as soon as possible, within one or two days, before all the sugars turn to starches. If you cannot use asparagus for more than a day, either wrap the ends in a damp paper towel or bundle the spears with a rubber band and stand them upright in a container in an inch of water.
Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, & Foods
Bacon, butter, chicken, chives, crab, garlic, halibut, ham, hollandaise sauce, leeks, lemon, lobster, mushrooms, nutmeg, Parmesan cheese, pasta, potatoes
• Serve cooked asparagus warm with hollandaise sauce or topped with butter and Parmesan cheese.
• Serve cooked asparagus cold with a simple vinaigrette, or olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt.
• Asparagus is the ultimate finger food. Believe it or not, proper etiquette calls for eating asparagus with your fingers, not utensils! Kids love dipping spears in a little dish of melted butter, salad dressing, or mayonnaise.
• Slice into 1-inch pieces and stir-fry with other vegetables in a wok with a little corn, peanut, or sesame oil.
• Substitute asparagus for leeks in a leek tart or quiche recipe, or combine the two vegetables.
• Top pizza with very thin spears or tips of parboiled or steamed asparagus.
• Sauté asparagus in chicken broth for more flavor.
• Place parboiled asparagus spears, tomatoes, mushrooms, and shredded mozzarella cheese on top of focaccia bread for an elegant garden pizza.
• French-fry asparagus just like potato fries for a delicious and unusual dish, or try as a tempura vegetable.
• Asparagus and morel mushrooms, lightly sautéed in butter, are a magical combination, with happily synchronized farmers market appearances.
• Add cooked asparagus to your favorite omelet or scrambled eggs.
• If you are lucky enough to encounter young, tender asparagus the width of a pencil, try serving it raw with carrot and celery sticks and a favorite dip.
• Grill asparagus brushed with olive oil, vinaigrette, or your favorite dressing.
Cook out of the Box - Focus: Asparagus
Cook out of the Box 2011 - Too Much Asparagus? No Such Thing
Asparagus and Spinach Salad (serves 6)
This is wonderful hot, but it is also excellent chilled.
1 pound asparagus, washed, trimmed, and peeled
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves, washed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 whole scallions, bulbs and green tops, roughly chopped
Pinch of ground cloves
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream (optional)
1. Place asparagus in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with the chicken stock. Heat to boiling over high heat; decrease the heat. Simmer, covered, 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus from the stock and set aside. Add the spinach to the saucepan and cook 3 minutes. Drain; reserve the stock.
2. Cut the tips off the asparagus; reserve. Chop the stems into 1-inch pieces; reserve.
3. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat. Add the scallions; cook until wilted. Stir in the cloves, cooked spinach, and asparagus stems. Cook, covered, over low heat for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the cover; add the reserved stock.
5. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Slowly beat in the cream until the mixture is smooth. Stir this into the vegetable mixture in the saucepan. Heat to boiling; remove from heat.
6. Cool the mixture slightly and purée it in the blender or processor in two batches (be careful – the hot liquid will expand). Return the purée to the saucepan and reheat over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste; stir in the asparagus tips. Serve garnished with dabs of sour cream, if desired.
Credit: Bert Greene, Green on Greene, Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (1984). Reprinted with permission of the Estate of Bert Greene, represented by Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.
Spaghetti With Spring Vegetables (serves 6)
5 medium-sized tomatoes
1/4 pound small asparagus
1 medium-sized zucchini
1/4 pound small white mushrooms
1 large red or green bell pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound spaghetti
1. Peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes. Wash the asparagus and cut the tips off the stalks; cut both the stalks and the tips into 1-inch-long pieces, but keep them separate. Wash and dry the zucchini and mushrooms; cut into thin slices. Wash the pepper and cut into short, thin strips.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the pepper strips and asparagus stalks and sauté over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the onion, zucchini, asparagus tips, and mushrooms. Sauté 4 to 5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in parsley and garlic. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. Cook the spaghetti; drain and place in warm deep dish or bowl. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti, and serve immediately.
Credit: Jeanette Mettler Cappello, Fruits and Veggies – More Maters, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Reprinted from www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov
Pasta with Asparagus Sauce
Chop asparagus stalks (about 4-5 per serving), setting aside tips. Cook stalks in about 1/2 cup water until tender - not more than 5 minutes. Cool, then puree in a food processor, blender or food mill. Set aside.
Heat about 2 T. olive oil or hazelnut oil in a pan - add a few cloves chopped garlic or a handful of chopped onion (more or less depending on amount of asparagus) and lightly saute, along with asparagus tips. If you have some shitake mushrooms or other mushrooms, saute those too. After about 5 minutes, add asparagus puree. Salt and pepper to taste. Optional - add a few tablespoons cream or creme fraiche. Serve on top of cooked pasta, along with grated parmesan or other hard grating cheese. A spoonful of chopped, toasted Minnesota hazelnuts as a garnish makes this dish truly special. Pine nuts would also be good. As would chopped fresh chives.
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2010 - Week 1
Asparagus Mushroom Pasta
Ingredients: Chopped green garlic (about 1 t. - or more if you like garlic- per serving); asparagus cut in one inch pieces (about 3-4 spears per serving); fresh mushrooms - about 2 oz. per serving; olive oil; favorite dried pasta - linguini is nice or use rotini or mostaccioli if you are cooking extra for a pasta salad.
Cook pasta according to package directions. Add plenty of salt to cooking water. While pasta is cooking, saute garlic, asparagus and mushrooms in about 1-2 T olive oil until vegetables are tender. (Use the white part of the garlic stalk.) Drain pasta, saving about a cup of starchy cooking water. Toss pasta with vegetables, adding water as desired to keep pasta from being too dry. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Credit: Cook out of the Box 2011 - Week 1