119. Barrington EATS: Have a Spring Fling with Asparagus
If you are one of the many Barrington residents who happened to see my Barrington Garden Faire or Barrington Farmers’ Market cooking demos last Spring, perhaps you remember me for my 30 Spectacular Salads cookbook. But more likely it’s for the Black Bean Asparagus Salad.
While at both venues I demonstrated and sampled salads that included Orzo Salad, Chick Pea Mango Salad, Carrot Basil and Feta Salad, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Crunchy Green Bean Salad and others that people told me were their absolute favorites, but the salad that people always came back to tell me they made… over and over and over again… was the Black Bean Asparagus. No surprise as it is delicious, looks pretty, is virtually fat-free and goes with just about anything!
Well if you are one of those people, and even if you aren’t, have you noticed that asparagus is just about perfect these days at the grocery store? Perfect in that it’s not too skinny, not too thick, the coloring is just right, and it’s absolutely priced right at around $1/bunch.
Asparagus is considered a “very good” source of over 20 vitamins and minerals, and protein and fiber as well, and is an antioxidant-rich food recommended to protect our bodies against heart disease and Alzheimers. It’s hard to find a reason not to eat asparagus right now. And for those not sure your kids will like it, I always entice my 9-year old son’s friends with “try it… it will make your pee smell funny.” Even the picky ones eat it up just for the laugh factor.
Following are two great ways to enjoy asparagus; the beloved Black Bean Asparagus Salad, and — since eggs are also priced extremely well right now for Easter — in a fabulous Asparagus and Spinach Quiche. Click HERE for other great Asparagus Recipes on my website, including a way to use your leftover Easter ham in an Aspragus and Ham Linguini, as well is Grilled Asparagus with Asiago Cheese and Simple Risotto. Check back next week for more great recipes featuring your leftover holiday ham and easter eggs.
Black Bean Asparagus Salad
This salad works as a salsa, with chips, on its own as a salad, or as a garnish for grilled chicken or meat. The beautiful color combination is a treat for any table.
• One bunch asparagus, thick ends removed
• 14-ounce cans (about 3 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
• 2 tablespoons light vinegar (my favorite is the Olive Tap’s Serrano Pepper Honey Lime, but any light vinegar such as white wine, or light balsamic will do)
• 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
• 1-1/2 teaspoons jalapeno, finely diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh Italian Parsley, minced
• 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
Blanche asparagus for 2 minutes in boiling water. Immediately drain and rise with cold water. Dice asparagus into 1/4 inch rounds. Combine with remaining ingredients. Chill before serving.
Asparagus and Spinach Quiche
When I buy a large bag of spinach at the store, I never end up using the whole bag before it goes bad. So I’ve gotten in the habit of immediately putting half the bag’s contents in sandwich-size ziploc bags and into the freezer. This provides me with the exact perfect amount of spinach every time I go to make Tomato Florentine Soup, Baked Pasta, or Asparagus Spinach quiche.
• 1 pie crust
• 3 eggs
• 1 cup milk, cream, or a combination of milk and Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon butter or oil
• 3/4 cup diced asparagus
• 1 cup fresh spinach or 1/3 cup frozen thawed spinach
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 3/4 cup shredded or finely diced cheese (shredded cheddar/jack, mozarella, chedddar, swiss)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a pan on stove, cook asparagus, spinach and garlic until just soft, approximately 5 minutes. Press pie crust into 9-inch pie plate. Whisk together eggs, dairy, salt and pepper. Add cheese and vegetables to pan. Top with egg mixture. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until center is firm.
Kelly Donlea is a Barrington mom, chef, cookbook author the owner of Organizing Dinner, a company that brings sensible cooking solutions to busy people. She has published several cookbooks and one of her specialties is helping parents plan family meals with fewer trips to the grocery store. Kelly also offers cooking classes and demonstrations in your home or public facility. To learn more about Kelly, her recipes and her services, you’ll find her Facebook page by clicking HERE and her website at OrganizingDinner.com. Kelly is going to be sharing recipes, cooking tips and special features about chefs and popular menu items at area restaurants right here at 365Barrington.com.
Please join us as we discover local culinary treasures and new kitchen classics in our new, local and regular food feature here at 365Barrington.com called “Barrington Eats” with Kelly Donlea!