By: Shannon Crocker, RD, P.H.Ec.
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I seriously can't get enough of local Ontario asparagus. It's a super delicious way to fill half your plate with veggies and you have to eat it all now -- 'cause it's gone in June!
There's an endless array of ways you can enjoy asparagus, both raw and cooked.
Raw asparagus is crisp and mild and perfect for dipping, making it a tasty addition to a spring veggie tray. It's also great chopped or slivered into salads. To sliver, use a vegetable peeler to create long strips -- kind of like how you peel a carrot, only you eat the asparagus.
Try this Mango, Asparagus and Radish Salsa with chopped raw asparagus.
If you're cooking it -- go light on the time here my friends. Tender-crisp is what you're aiming for and it doesn't take much time at all! I roast it, grill it and pan fry it for about 5 minutes for thinner stalks. And usually I just add olive oil and pinch of flakey sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Have you ever seen asparagus being picked?
I have and it totally wow'd me. It's quite an operation -- it's actually cut from the field by hand. Imagine riding along on a low bench, pulled behind a tractor, bending over for hours at a time to hand-cut asparagus. Yep, that's how it's done. I'm not sure how I thought it would be picked to be honest. But every time I bite into a stalk each spring, I appreciate that for a moment!
Also worth appreciating is the nutritional value that asparagus boasts.
Nutritionally speaking, asparagus is a little green powerhouse.
Super Simple Asparagus Recipe Coming Up
This recipe is inspired by an avocado toast at one of my fave restaurants; they use miso butter on the sourdough bread and it takes avocado toast to another dimension! The salty, umami flavour, paired with the creamy avocado and egg is out of this world.
I thought I'd give it a whirl on asparagus. And it was SO GOOD. So, I'm sharing with you! It's super on its own as a side dish or make it into a meal: spread some of the miso butter on sourdough toast, top with miso-buttered asparagus and a soft cooked egg.
Sautéed Ontario Asparagus with Savoury Miso Butter
1 bundle of Ontario asparagus
1 tsp (5 mL) canola oil
2 tsp (10 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) white miso paste *
How to make
1. Wash asparagus well and trim or break off woody (tough) ends.
2. Heat a large pan over medium-high. Add asparagus and drizzle with canola oil. Sauté for approximately five minutes or until tender-crisp. Time will depend on the thickness of the asparagus stalks.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix miso paste and butter until well combine. When the asparagus is cooked to your liking, add the miso butter to the pan and toss until all asparagus is coated. Enjoy!
* White miso is slightly sweet and used to add a complex, savoury flavour to dishes. In this recipe, white miso's salty bite pairs perfectly with asparagus. Buy it in the refrigerated section at the grocery store -- likely in the health food section.
About the author:
Shannon Crocker is a Canadian-food-loving registered dietitian and professional home economist with over 20 years experience in nutrition communications.
Shannon works with diverse clients including industry, commodity groups and non-profit organizations across Canada. As a skilled nutrition writer, enthusiastic spokesperson and engaging presenter and facilitator, she promotes simple food for vibrant living.
With her consumer-friendly writing style, she is sought after as a food and nutrition writer and content creator and is the author of nutrition resources that are used across the country. She’s excited to be a contributor to Canadian Food Focus and looks forward to sharing her food stories.
When she’s not writing about food and nutrition, she’s talking about it. Shannon is a media dietitian known for her approachable and enthusiastic on-air presence and she regularly appears on TV segments, radio interviews and in videos for her clients.
Shannon completed her Master of Science in Community Nutrition at the University of Guelph and is a member of Dietitians of Canada, the Ontario College of Dietitians and the Ontario Home Economist Association.
An avid cook and foodie, you can often find her playing in the kitchen developing nutritious and delicious recipes. Follow Shannon on Twitter and Instagram (@shancrockerRD) and visit her website and Be Simply Vibrant blog at www.shannoncrocker.ca/blog.