30 May 2006

Asparagus Aspirations Part 1

Posted in food at 9:48 pm by Tricia

Early in May, asparagus was one of the few items in abundant supply at the local farmer’s market. We’ve eaten a lot of it this month, from simple preparations to more complicated ones. I really wanted to try it fried, as read about in the “Asparagus Aspirations” round-ups over at Seriously Good, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. (But there’s still time, since there’s still asparagus in the market!)

I did try two new recipes. The first was a salad based on a recipe I picked up at the grocery store. Although the asparagus, arugula, and lettuce were local, the addition of mangoes takes it out of the realm of an “eat local” dish. You can almost figure out the preparation just by reading the title:

Arugula Salad with Mangoes & Asparagus in a Mandarin Vinaigrette

But if you want something more specific, here are the directions:

18 asparagus spears, ends snapped
4 cups arugula, washed and spun dry
2 cups romaine heart leaves, torn, washed and spun dry
2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 to 1 cup Mandarin-style bottled salad dressing, such as Up-Country Organics or Brianna’s

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to biol. Cook asparagus 3 minutes or until just tender. Remove and immerse in ice-cold water. Drain and set aside.
2. Meanwhilte, arrange arugula and lettuce on a large platter or individual plates. Arrange asparagus and mango over greens. Drizzle with 1/2 cup dressing; add more dressing to taste if desired and serve. (Or do like me and toss it all together in a salad bowl.)

I was unsure what a “mandarin-style dressing” is, but a brief perusal of the Brianna’s web site inspired me to mix up some soy sauce, ginger, and a touch of orange juice. I used much less than 1/2 cup and even so, the salad felt a little drowned at the end. Next time I’ll pass the dressing separately. Otherwise, it was a fabulous combination – the sweet edge of mangoes playing off the dark soy sauce element and earthiness of asparagus, mingling with the sharp nutty arugula. Try it, you’ll probably like it! (unless you’re like my husband, and don’t really enjoy arugula…)

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