Meatless Monday, Side Dishes, Vegetables, Vegetarian

The Asparagus Has Not Sprung

The rain is really coming down now.

On the few days it has been nice I have been to the garden looking for the tiniest hints of spring.  Maybe thin asparagus tips might be peeking at me through the damp dirt.  The tarragon is growing, so is the sorrel and savory.  The  purple chive blossoms are ready to burst open and there are strong whiffs of lovage.  I have already made my beloved lovage cream cheese spread even if it is only beloved by me.

I know I could go to the store and buy asparagus.  I know it would taste good.  I have already seen countless asparagus recipes tempting me, one for an asparagus tart that looks amazing.

The mustard greens are blooming now, a toad has dug his way up from the mud.  Around dinner time he wrestles himself in between clumps of dirt getting himself as close to the earth’s warmth as he can.  He needs to protect himself from the night time cold. During the heat of the day a snake is searching the compost pile  for mice.  Soon…I think to myself…soon you will get to taste the sweetness of the asparagus that only happens when you grow your own.

Roasted Asparagus and Shiitakes (serves 4)

1 pound of asparagus, the ends trimmed (I like to peel the asparagus stems but only about an inch or two, just the bottom to remove any tough skin)

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, wiped of dirt with a paper towel, stems removed and thinly sliced

a scant handful of rosemary sprigs, broken in half

extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat the oven to 425˚ F.

2. Trim the stem ends and using a peeler peel the stalk, also at the stem end.  Toss the asparagus with olive oil to coat and season the spears with salt and pepper.  

3. Toss the spears with the rosemary and spread it out onto a sheet tray.  Bake the spears for 10 minutes being sure to shake the tray in order to turn the stalks after five minutes.

4. While the asparagus is cooking heat a saute pan over high heat.  Add a glug or two of oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Once the oil is close to smoking add the mushrooms and sear them.  Season them with salt and pepper.  Cook them until they are well browned and crispy.

5. Remove the asparagus from the oven.  Transfer them to a platter and garnish with the mushrooms and serve.


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