It seems perfect for me that the beginning of this blog is also the beginning of the fresh local eating season.....spring has exploded around us! My asparagus has been bitten back by frost a couple times this spring, but has produced enough to have several meals of it already. I've noticed that local Vermeulen Farms Asparagus is available in the grocery stores and looks gorgeous. There may be many fancy ways to prepare it, but the simplest and tastiest is the following:
Roasted Asparagus (maybe 4-6 servings, or enough for 2 Asparagus Lovers)
2 lb Asparagus
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 t. Salt
Preheat your oven to 400. Wash the asparagus and break off the bottom of each stalk (usually it breaks at just the right point where the toughness ends). Spread it out on a cookie sheet and drizzle the olive oil over it. Use your hands to rub the oil evenly over, especially the tips. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 minutes, until the largest stalks are just about tender and have started to brown. You be the judge, start checking after 10 minutes and decide how you like them. A healthy squeeze of lemon is nice if you have it!
We've also been enjoying greens from Taproot Farm in Port Williams both at home and at the Cafe. I've known Taproot's Patricia Bishop since high school and I love buying from her. If you haven't heard of her and husband Josh Oulton's Community Supported Agriculture Program (a subscription gets you a weekly year-round supply of local organically grown produce and other goodies), check out their link! Last night, one of our pasta specials featured their Arugula.
1/2 lb. Arugula (Patricia's was beautiful, but my arugula always has flea beetle holes. This is a perfect use for imperfect arugula)
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 C. Almonds or Sunflower seeds (toast first for more flavour if you like)
1 C. Olive Oil
1/2 t. salt or to taste
1 C. grated parmesan cheese (We use Holmestead Parmesan, made in Factorydale near Berwick)
Pulse the arugula in a food processor with the garlic and nuts until the garlic is chopped. Leave processor on and add the oil in a slow stream. Sprinkle in the cheese and salt and pulse a few times until combined.
Toss with hot pasta and chicken or shrimp if you like, or combine with equal parts sour cream and mayo for a delish veggie dip or sandwich spread! Also great as a pizza sauce.