The weather is still gray and chilly but the asparagus is green! I braved the chill and threat of rain to drive down to LE Garden in Demotte and was rewarded with five pounds of freshly collected spears from the garden.
I also observed many farm fields under water--one, so much so, that it resembled a lake with waves beating against the nearby shore. The far shore was out of eyesight. Everything was lush and green on the drive but the cornfields I passed showed sprouts of only a few inches in height. I'm not sure what this means for the farmers.
I could not wait to get these beauties on the table! I'd planned a rack of lamb for dinner and decided that part of the asparagus would be made into a simple salad to show off its just-picked freshness.
2 pounds fresh asparagus with woody bottoms broken off
1 cup white balsamic vinaigrette dressing*
2 tsp lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp superfine sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup good olive oil
Whisk all together well
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until slightly tender but still crisp, about three minutes. You may stop the cooking by plunging the asparagus into a bowl of iced water. I've learned to eliminate this step and still retain the color. By all means, use the ice water bath if you aren't comfortable omitting it. Drain the asparagus and place into a large bowl.
2. Add the dressing and be sure all spears are coated. Sprinkle with the lemon zest.
3. Refrigerate at least three hours.