I enjoy the early spring so much. The tree blossoms are edging there way, the tulips are scattering color throughout the neighborhood, and there is a sweet smell in the air of all things growing. The weather is lovely right now in Seattle. I really enjoy the long urban hikes I have been taking to soak up the scenery and come home with an appetite ready to satisfy. In my personal opinion the best part of early spring is how asparagus comes into season. All the joys of spring in Seattle aside, I await the arrival of asparagus with anticipation! It is my most favorite vegetable of them all. I love every possible way you can prepare them and devour every last bit. I have been known to eat an entire bunch of asparagus on my own. Yes, I am just a tad obsessive about this vegetable.
When I went to the market this week I saw that all the local asparagus is in and it looked perfect. I picked up two bunches and ran all the ways I love to eat them through my mind. Roast them? Grill them? Stir fry them? Asparagus has endless possibilities, but I settled on keeping it in its simplest form to really show how fantastic this vegetable can be. Below is a very simple lemon vinaigrette over asparagus that was gently simmered while retaining its lovely texture and bright green color. It is pure and bright in flavor and lets all the natural beauty of its own self shine though. This is a really vibrant dish as a side to some fish or chicken; but also would make a great starter to any meal. I hope you enjoy it when you try it. You might just begin to fall in love with it like myself.
Asparagus and Lemon Vinaigrette
1 bunch of asparagus
juice and zest of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
First, when trimming asparagus it is best to keep the bunch together and bend the end of a few stalks to see where it will snap / break naturally. It will most likely break around the same area as one another. Use the breakage as a guide line as the where to trim your asparagus. Cut the whole bunch of asparagus along that guide in order to remove the tough ends and avoid the hassle of having to peel each stalk.
Next, rinse your asparagus well and place in a sauté or frying pan. Just barely cover the asparagus with water and place over medium heat. Bring the asparagus to a simmer for about 3 minutes; remove from heat, and drain. I always check to see how “done” my asparagus is by piercing with a knife. You are looking for the knife to sink though the stalk easily. How thick or thin the stalks are may vary the cooking time.
Finally; place the cooked asparagus on a serving platter and drizzle with a bit of olive oil- over that pour your lemon juice and sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper to taste. Toss it all together, then sprinkle the zest over it all and toss again. Serve while still slightly warm and enjoy.
Notes: If you have Meyer Lemons still available it is a great time to take advantage of them. They work lovely in this dish. Also, this is the perfect time to use a really good quality and brightly tasting olive oil. Great ingredients shine through in a simple dish like this