3 Simple Salads with Ontario Asparagus
This is not a sponsored post, but I did partner with my friends over at Produce Made Simple to share my 3 simple asparagus ideas on CHCH Morning Live for a Mother’s Day segment.
You know how when you go to Costco, and you see something new, and you buy it right away, ‘cause you know it isn’t going to be there the next time?
Well, that’s exactly what it’s like with local asparagus. It’s here (hoorah!), but it won’t be for long. So get it ALL while you can!
Ontario asparagus is only available from May through June. I know. Bummer! Luckily, it is here in abundance during that time, so there’s lots to go around.
There are seriously so many ways to love asparagus. Steamed, roasted, grilled sautéed. Just please, please, don’t cook it until it’s mushy. Nothing worse than squishy, dull green asparagus.
Bright green and tender crisp is what we’re going for. That means you pull that asparagus off the heat before you think it’s done – it will continue to cook a little anyway.
Nutritionally speaking, asparagus is packed with nutrients like folate for heart health, vitamin K for healthy bones, and iron to deliver oxygen through your body to keep you energized.
Asparagus is also a prebiotic, so it nourishes the good bacteria in your digestive system, which promotes gut health. And, it’s rich in the antioxidant rutin, which is being explored for it’s potential role in reducing inflammation, improving brain function and managing blood sugar.
All this for only 4 calories per spear!
Beyond all the nutritional benefits, fresh-picked local asparagus is a taste bonanza. When it comes in, I can’t get enough. I’m sharing with you three delicious, nutritious, simple asparagus salad recipe-ettes that I love. I know you will too.
There are no set ingredient amounts, use these ideas as your guidline; add on the salad toppings in any amount and create them as you like. Easy peasy!
Asparagus Salad 3 Ways
These salads are individually plated with several stalks of asparagus per person. They can also be presented on a big beautiful platter for guests to serve themselves.
Blanch a big bunch of Ontario asparagus until just barely cooked. Remove the asparagus from the pot and plunge it immediately into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process. Leave it there until it’s completely cold. Drain and pat dry. (You can prepare the asparagus to this point the day before and refrigerate.)
Place several stalks of asparagus on each plate and then add on the additional ingredients listed below if you are making a savoury, sweet or savory & sweet salad.
Add your toppings:
Asparagus, poached egg, charred balsamic grape tomatoes*, shaved Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh chives
Dress with: a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch fleur de sel and big grind of fresh pepper.
Asparagus, sliced strawberries, green peas, feta, chopped pistachio
Dress with: vinaigrette of canola oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and sea salt.
Sweet & Savoury
Asparagus, my fresh mango/asparagus/radish salsa, avocado, black beans
Dress with: vinaigrette of avocado oil, lime juice, pinch of red pepper flakes and sea salt, plus lots of chopped cilantro.
Switch it up: Make these salads into open-faced sandwiches!
Toast rustic whole grain bread or baguette, top with ricotta and layer on asparagus salad.
* To make charred balsamic tomatoes: in a hot pan, add a little oil, toss in grape tomatoes and cook until just starting to char, but not popping open, stirring occasionally. Pour over balsamic vinegar and stir until all tomatoes are covered. Remove from heat. Can be stored in the fridge in a covered container for up to 1 week.