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RECIPE: Get it while you can, asparagus season is here

Get em while they are here! Local asparagus is a treat.
Get em while they are here! Local asparagus is a treat.

Mad for asparagus? Well, the season finally here. I anticipate these delectable green spears all year long as our local asparagus is so far superior to the imported varieties. Tender and flavorful, it is like gold because it is very hard to farm. This crop takes a patient farmer as takes about three or four years to get the asparagus crop ready to harvest and then its annual success is very weather dependent and needs sunshine. 

My favourite way to prepare asparagus is lightly brushed with olive oil, grilled on the barbecue and then topped with Maldon sea salt and lemon zest. I also love to make a classic egg omelette featuring the asparagus spears in the middle with goat cheese and tarragon.

This lovely pesto is great tossed with pasta, served on grilled chicken, as a spread in aa Panini, on bruschetta. 

Grilled asparagus as a side on on a salad is one of my  favourite ways to serve it.
Grilled asparagus as a side on on a salad is one of my favourite ways to serve it.

Asparagus Pesto

Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus snapped into pieces
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Maldon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

Boil asparagus until just done in salted water- approximately 5 minutes (check doneness by spearing one with a fork).  Drain and let cool.  Add the asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, 2 tbsp oil, Parmesan cheese, a shake of salt and a ground of pepper to a food processor.  Whizz for a couple of seconds– pause- scrape down sides – add lemon – whizz again.  Season with more salt and pepper or lemon to taste and scrape into a bowl. Stir in chopped basil.  

Sealed in a container, this pesto will last a couple of days in the fridge – but its brilliant green colour will turn quickly, so best to use right away or frozen.  Serve with Okanagan bubbles!


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