Spring Greens: Asparagus, Fresh Herbs, Lettuce and Fiddleheads!

Open 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s next to Bell
In “Read more…” see Warren Hart’s recipe for fiddlehead ferns with high-protein pasta from Four City Pasta
April 20, 2012
by Pascale LeDraoulec

Nothing says “Spring!” quite like a thick, textured asparagus spear. In France, April belongs to asparagus – white asparagus. Did you know that farmers and home gardeners cut their asparagus at the crack of dawn each morning before the asparagus tips get a chance to emerge from the soil and take on any hue?

We tend to eat our asparagus green here. Raw, steamed . . . roasted!  If you’ve never roasted green asparagus – you’re in for a treat. Roasting asparagus draws out the stalk’s nutty flavor, sweetens its scent and deepens its green color.

This recipe, adapted from Elizabeth Schneider’s “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” (my vegetable Bible) couldn’t be easier and is the perfect way to showcase those gorgeous stalks Newgate and Madura Farms have been bringing to market. Plus, it calls for some crunchy Fleur de Sel salt which Spice Revolution (back again this week) carries.

Roasted Asparagus

• 1 pound medium green asparagus
• (16 to 20 spears)
• 1 tbs olive oil
• Fleur de sel or crisp sea salt
• lemon and orange wedges

• Preheat the oven to 500 F.
• Bend base of each asparagus spear to snap off the fibrous section.
• Lightly peel stalks.
• Choose a roasting pan that holds asparagus closely – they need to be snug in the pan.
• Drizzle olive oil over them, then shake pan briskly to coat all stalks in oil.
• Roast in center oven for 5 minutes.
• Shake pan vigorously to shake stalks.
• Roast about five minutes more, until tender.
• Serve at once with salt and citrus.

For some Asian flair, substitute a touch of oyster, fish or soy sauce for the salt.

Serves 2

French chef Roger Verge likes to pierce a bamboo skewer through five spear tips at a time; he drizzles them with a nice finishing olive oil (Kontoulis Olive Oil will be here next week!) sprinkles them with salt and broils or grills them for about three minutes. Meanwhile, he warms up some olive oil in a skillet with some savory herb sprigs (Honey Locust Farmhouse and Madura have been bringing gorgeous herbs lately). When asparagus is cooked, dip both sides in the aromatic oil.  And here’s a tip: don’t throw away the stalk remnants….save them for soup!

Of course, sautéed asparagus tips will add spring sunshine to any pasta dish – especially one bathed in grass-green Buddhapesto sauce.

Ready-Set-Sharp is here this week!

So is Gaia’s Breath with their crazy delicious and healthy sausages and lean cuts of veal.

Stone Barns has ground lamb, and pork chops for grilling.

See you at the market!

~ Pascale Le Draoulec
food writer/ author/ farmers market director

Warren Hart’s recipe for a fiddlehead fern saute on pasta

Wash the fiddelhead ferns, cut off the tips of the stems, and then saute a bunch of garlic in olive oil and added the fiddleheads along with some fresh pepper and let them cook for a bit longer than I would have guessed—till the fiddleheads turn a lighter green.

You could put them on some nice emmer pasta (from Flour City Pasta—the emmer wheat is tasty and has three times the protein of most pasta).  Serve with a glass of your favorite wine and maybe some fresh bread and a little salad and you have a great meal.


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