Local asparagus is in season, and it is time to celebrate those harbingers of Spring. The supple spears are tasty, with a creamy interior, a slightly funky flavor, and they are really easy to prep, if you just lop off the tips and slice the stems. If you need any more motivation to plunk a bunch in your market bag, think about the millions of mouths you have to feed, in your inner microbiome.
Yes, asparagus is a fantastic pre-biotic, if I may be so indelicate. Asparagus has a respectable amount of inulin, the unique fiber that’s also present in Jerusalem artichokes. Inulin is a polyfructan, a specific kind of carb that isn’t broken down in the digestive tract. So, as it makes its journey through you, all the health-promoting bacteria living in your gut digest it for you. This makes your beneficial bacteria very happy.
Asparagus is also just an all around nutritious veggie, with some outstanding B-Vitamins, Vitamin K, C and E, and lots of minerals you don’t see in every vegetable. It’s very perishable, because it has a fast rate of respiration, which means it keeps breathing after it is picked and many of the nutrients start fading quickly.
To really dig into fresh local asparagus in season, you need more than one fall-back recipe. Check out my past efforts with a Broiled Asparagus in Walnut Sauce recipe, Or Asparagus and Mango Salad with Chia. I’ve written about the aphrodisiac reputation of asparagus, too.
For a break from your asparagus routine, give this little raw asparagus salad a spin. I skipped ahead a little by using summer squash, in part for the lovely color. I used raw asparagus and squash, and used the spiralizer to make thin slices of squash. If you have a spiralizer and only use it to make noodles, it’s time to branch out and use it to make a quick marinated little salad like this. It’s so easy.
Then I got out the chop top to slice the asparagus stems paper thin, too.I wanted the asparagus tips to be crunchy, and the stems to be tender without being cooked. Sliding them across the blade was just the thing, they were soft and had no crunch at all after being dressed.
Some fresh dill gives the whole affair a lively herbaceousness. Lemon juice and olive oil are all you really need to wake up your slumbering palate.
Spring is here, and asparagus has arrived to bring us back to life. The least we can do is jump out of our rut and give it a new way to grace the plate.
Raw Asparagus Salad with Summer Squash
2 medium yellow squashes
1 bunch asparagus
1 small red shallot, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 2 teaspoons zest
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Set up the spiralizer with the shaving blade. Spiralize the squash, then slice into pieces. Cut the tips from the asparagus and reserve. Use a mandoline to shave the asparagus stems thinly. Put in a large bowl with the shallots.
In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Dress the asparagus tips and reserve. Drizzle the rest of the dressing on the shaved vegetables. Serve topped with asparagus tips and lemon zest.