King Asparagus

BETTER LIVING THROUGH LOCAL FOODS!

I always think of asparagus as the King of the Spring vegetable kingdom. Doesn’t everyone love it? It’s probably the one vegetable non-gardeners choose to grow, out of all of them, that stands tall like royalty amongst the low-lying grass and herbs and weeds.   For years, my mother made them, over-boiled and over-salted, and I never understood why people liked those limp soggy green spears. Now my favorite way to make asparagus is to simply roast them in a 375° oven with some olive oil and nice coarse salt (I’m loving the pink Himalayan type lately but you can use more local sea salt) and garlic, or even garlic salt. Roast whole cloves alongside the spears, checking at about 13 minutes; they should be done by 15-16 minutes depending on how “al dente” you want them. When cool enough to handle, you can squeeze the roasted garlic over the asparagus and then squeeze some lemon juice over too.  If you don’t like garlic, just use the lemon and salt; add fresh pepper to taste.

Asparagus

I found some gorgeous asparagus from Rehoboth’s Oakdale Farm at the last Saturday Marshfield Farmer’s Market, along with leeks from Rise ‘N Shine Farm in Marshfield.  I roasted these together per the described method above to create a grain salad made with farro.

Leeks

None of our grains are “local” at this point, but you can find all kinds of rice, farro, quinoa and other grains like barley at our local supermarkets now, so I encourage folks to substitute their own favorite grain; you don’t need to have farro!

Grain Salad with Roasted Asparagus and Leeks

1 Cup Farro (I used pearled; be aware that whole, unpearled farro should be soaked and takes much longer to cook!)
1 bunch asparagus
3-4 leeks, trimmed and washed
2 cloves garlic
½ Cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
¼ Cup toasted pine nuts
2-3 T Olive oil, divided between cooking and the finished salad
Juice of one lemon
2 T white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar or other mild vinegar (sherry would be lovely!)
Mint, chives, oregano, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°, chop the asparagus and leeks into pieces about 1 “; spread 1-2 T olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and coat the veggies in the oil.  Sprinkle coarse salt on top.  Place the garlic cloves in the tray and roast for 15-20 minutes. (Because I was putting this in a salad, I like it softer than if you were cooking them whole.)

Farro with Roasted Asparagus

Meanwhile, cook the farro (or other grain) according to the package directions. The pearled farro cooks in 15 minutes in boiling water like pasta.

When the farro is soft yet still slightly crunchy, drain, cool slightly and add the roasted veggies. Take the roasted garlic and squeeze into the grains, along with 1-2 more T olive oil, the vinegar, lemon juice, and herbs (I also added chives and mint from our garden.) Add oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, and crumbled feta to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

The following week, I bought more asparagus  at the Hingham Farmer’s Market and made a similar salad with some leftover rice, substituting a chopped red onion for the leeks and adding  a can of black beans, cilantro, fresh lime juice and frozen corn.

Rice Salad with Asparagus

Submitted by Katherine Rossmoore—Katherine would love it if you “Like” her Facebook page: Better Living Through Foods Health Coaching, or check out her website for more recipes: www.betterlivingthroughfoods.com

About eSS&SC

The South Shore and South Coast has been home to hunting, gathering, fishing, farming––and great eating––for over 10,000 years. We are committed to identifying, devouring, and sharing all that Southeastern Massachusetts has to offer today and preserving local options for future generations.
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