Spring’s Versatile Vegetable – Asparagus

Arrival of Spring is marked by the distinct seasonal flavor of this tender spear. Let this veggie adorn your menu options!  Because of its versatility, you can serve them sauteed with just salt and pepper, pureed in creamy soups, baked into frittatas, or grilled and drizzled with vinaigrette.  The key for cooking asparagus is simple:  don’t overcook it.  

Asparagus can take up to 3-4 years to grow to an edible length and most grown in the United States is green and purple. Not only are these spring spears delicious, they provide great nutritional value. Only 20 calories in a serving of approximately five spears, these are also excellent sources of Vitamin A, B6 and C.  The Greeks believed asparagus was a herbal medicine.

Don’t miss out on trying these delicious recipes.  You will savor the flavor with each bite.

Asparagus and Tater Toss
2 bacon strips, chopped
2 TBsp butter
4 fingerling potatoes, sliced
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 TBsp fresh lemon juice

In a saute pan, cook the bacon until crisp.  Remove and set aside.  Add the butter to the remaining bacon fat and add the potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Saute until crisp on one side, and then toss and cook on the other side until crispy.  Add the garlic and asparagus.  Continuously toss until the asparagus are bright green and tender, but still crunchy, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the lemon juice over top.  Toss in the reserved bacon and serve warm.

Cream Cheese and Parmesan Asparagus
1 puff pastry sheet
10 pieces asparagus, ends trimmed
5 oz cream cheese
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll the thawed puff pastry sheet out on lightly floured surface and layer generously with cream cheese.  Cut pastry into 10 strips.  Wrap one strip around one spear of asparagus.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes.
* Personal note:  I added crumbled bacon on top of cream cheese before rolling the asparagus.

If you stay at Flowers & Thyme Bed and Breakfast, you may enjoy this vegetable at the breakfast table!

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