A Perfect Food?

It’s time for spears without peers.

asparagus

SO RICH is it in so many nutrients and bioactive compounds that asparagus is often hailed as one of nature’s perfect foods, and festivals around the world – at least two in the U.S. – celebrate the emergence of the asparagus crop each spring. France’s King Louis XIV had special greenhouses built just to keep him in spears. Asparagus contains more folic acid than any other fruit or vegetable, an abundance of vitamins, including B and C, and a remarkable array of minerals. It carries a rich payload of antioxidants, many with anti-inflammatory properties that protect the nervous system. Tasty, versatile, and fast-cooking, it is also among the few foods with a low burden of pesticides.

Because asparagus is more perishable than many other vegetables, it’s best if market-to-table time is minimized. Look for smooth, bright green spears of uniform thickness with tightly closed tips. They can retain their freshness for a day or two in the refrigerator if the stalks are lightly trimmed and either wrapped in a damp paper towel or placed upright in a jar with a scant inch of water and covered loosely in plastic wrap.

Blue Spring Salad

blue-spring-salad

Prep. Time: 20 minutes                     Cooking Time: 10 minutes                      Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients

1/2 baguette, sliced
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
2 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) honey
2 tbsp (30 mL) Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (60 mL) 15% cream or18% cream
Freshly ground pepper
2 cups (500 mL) radishes, thinly sliced
2/3 cup (160 mL) Canadian Blue, crumbled

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425oF (220oC).

Lay baguette slices on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Mix butter with garlic and parsley and brush onto baguette slices.

Cook in oven for about 5 minutes or until bread is golden and crispy.

Cook asparagus 2 minutes in a saucepan filled with salted boiling water. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking and drain.

In a bowl, mix honey, mustard and cream. Pepper generously and add radishes.

Place a few baguette slices on a plate, cover with asparagus, add radish mixture and top with Blue. Serve at once, before croutons get soggy.

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