After a long, freezing, snow-filled winter, spring has finally arrived in NY. Trees are blooming, sidewalk cafes are filling up, and open-toed shoes and sandals are making their debuts. And I’m seeing those eagerly-anticipated spring vegetables on restaurant menus and farmers’ markets everywhere—ramps, asparagus, fava beans, and more. I know that in other parts of the country, strawberries, radishes, and rhubarb are starting to pop up as well. After months of eating potatoes, acorn squash, cabbage, and cauliflower, it’s always a treat to indulge in something fresh that’s a sign of many more weeks of abundant, exciting produce.
But I have to admit, I’m probably most excited about the asparagus I’ve found at the farmers’ market. It’s only available for a few short weeks, so I like to grab it while I can. Asparagus is so easy to prepare—I often just toss the stalks with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for about 10 minutes until tender and caramelized. A squirt of lemon juice or some Parmesan shavings before serving, and you’re done. One of my favorite go-to recipes involves quickly blanching asparagus pieces, then mixing with chickpeas, olive oil, lemon, chopped scallion, and maple syrup, and serving with sautéed salmon. It’s easy, fresh, and delicious. And of course, asparagus is exceptionally nutritious; it’s full of folic acid (especially important if you’re pregnant) and provides lots of fiber, potassium, and B vitamins. It’s thought to be an anti-inflammatory, contains a variety of antioxidants, and aids in digestion.
I’m looking forward to several more weeks of asparagus-eating. Which spring food are you most excited about?
(image: Bill Deering/Getty Images)