Spring is Asparagus Season
Photo credit: Janie Maxwell
"I am very excited for warmer days and the hint of spring as April rolls in. But beyond warmer and longer days, it means spring produce is here!” says Janie Maxwell, of the Illinois Farmers Market Association. “This recipe includes fresh farmers’ market asparagus. There is nothing like locally produced asparagus! It is tender and flavorful.”
She notes, “Here are some tips on picking the most flavorful asparagus. Asparagus has the best flavor and is more tender if it isn’t dried out. Thin or thick stalks are both full of great flavor; what matters is freshness, how recently it was picked. Once you get the asparagus home, treat it like cut flowers if you aren’t going to use it immediately. Trim off the bottom of the stalk and place it standing up in water and refrigerate until you are ready to use.”
The new season is just beginning, so this recipe includes farm-fresh eggs, asparagus, fresh greens and portabella mushrooms; all available at local farmers’ winter markets this spring.
Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata
Yields: 4 servings
2 Tbsp butter
6-10 stalks asparagus, stalk trimmed and
discarded, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 portabella mushrooms, washed, stems
removed, cut into slices
4 farm-fresh eggs, whisked
2 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
Ground pepper and salt to taste
Tomato jam or favorite salsa (optional)
Finishing salt (optional)
Preheat oven to broil. Use an oven-safe, 8-inch omelet pan.
Melt the butter in the omelet pan over moderate heat.
Add sliced mushrooms and asparagus chunks.
Sauté until tender and slightly browned.
Add whisked eggs to pan. Allow the bottom eggs to set.
Gently lift the set eggs to allow the runny eggs to move to the bottom of the pan.
Repeat the process until there is only a slight amount of runny eggs on top.
Adjust heat to be sure to not let the eggs brown on the bottom.
Add cheese and place in oven, set on broil, and let cook until top is set and cheese is beginning to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and plate. Cut into quarters and serve with a tomato jam or salsa, (many farmers’ markets sell tomato jam, fresh tomatoes preserved as a jam). Salsa works, as well.
Add salt and pepper to taste. This is a great time to use a finishing salt instead of table salt, such as French, Fleur de Sel or Himalayan pink salt.
Serve with mixed greens.
Janie Maxwell, MS, RDN, LDN, is the executive director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA), which supports local food and food systems by giving Illinois farmers’ markets and producers access to resources, education and connections in order to grow healthier and economically vibrant communities. For more information, visit ilfma.org.