Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: The green spears of spring

Armstrong asparagus is here, and it's healthy, affordable and delicious — try this versatile green veggie in salads

Here we are in the middle of May  and well into asparagus season. I well remember picking the stuff as a teenager when many of us earned our spending money working in the fields with one crop or another.

There are asparagus farms  in the Grandview Flats area, (go up St. Anne’s Rd. where a most trust worthy farmer has a little help-yourself-and- pay stand.  Okanagan Asparagus farms in the Landsdowne area out of Armstrong, as well as at the Armstrong Asparagus Farm at Knob Hill, have wonderful fresh asparagus for sale, so do support our local farmers.

Today I’m offering two asparagus salad recipes. The first brings asparagus, baby potatoes, tomato and corn together with a flavourful dressing. The second is a quick and easy side dish. Enjoy.

Mixed

Asparagus Salad

8 asparagus spears, chopped

5 baby potatoes, halved

1 large tomato, seeded, chopped

¼ cup fresh cooked corn

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. mustard

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. dried oregano

¼ tsp. dried onion powder

¼ tsp. dried garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until it just turns bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove, drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Add potatoes to pot and cook until just softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove, drain, and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine asparagus, potatoes, tomato and corn. In separate small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, sugar, basil, oregano, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Pour over vegetables, toss well to coat, and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or chill 2 hours for flavours to develop. Serves 2.

Fresh Asparagus,

Tomato & Feta Salad

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. white sugar

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

2 tbsp. olive oil

3/4 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (4 ounce) container crumbled feta

1 large tomato, diced

1 green onion, diced

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

Whisk together the rice vinegar, white sugar, sea salt, sesame oil and olive oil in the bottom of a salad bowl.

Steam asparagus 4-6 minutes until bright green and tender-crisp. Drain; rinse in cold water.  Add asparagus, feta, tomato, green onion and cilantro to bowl with the dressing; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Delicious!

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist.