A big thank you to Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club Cookbook and Alison Wade Benjamin, writer at the Cleaner Plate Club blog for this guest post today. The Cleaner Plate Club Cookbook is part of this week’s giveaway, to learn more about how you can win your own copy go here. Otherwise enjoy the post….
Late April through much of May, weather permitting, is asparagus season for our area. Each week, at our farmers market, we buy four bunches; two green and two purple. We rarely buy it in the store, preferring to eat a whole lot of it when it is just perfect, then we move on to the next in-season bounty.
Two things are important when you buy your produce this way. First, you have to figure out how to cook the same item several different ways â€” or you will get tired of it quickly! Second, you need to know how to store it so it stays fresh.
Storage is simple, there’s one best way to store it. Asparagus is a member of the lily family, a flower. Store it in the refrigerator with the ends in water, just like flowers in a vase. If you don’t have a shelf high enough for this, lay it diagonally in a container with the cut ends down in the water.
As far as cooking asparagus, there is no one best way to cook it, but there is one worst way â€” canned. Canned asparagus tastes bitter and sulfuric, nothing like the real thing. Which may explain why I was in my twenties before I tried it again! I am very glad I did. If this is you, too, then try it again with your kids.
Of the four recipes for asparagus in our book, The Cleaner Plate Club, Roasted Asparagus is the simplest recipe and one our whole family loves best. The balsamic vinegar and roasting makes the flavor tangy and sweet, which many kids prefer to steamed asparagus.
- 1 pound asparagus, woody stems removed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea salt)
How To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degree F.
2. Toss the asparagus with the oil and vinegar, and spread the spears out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
3. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned, watching carefully to be sure they do not overbrown.
*Recipe courtesy of The Cleaner Plate Club, by Beth Bader and Ali Benjamin, Storey Publishing.
- Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club, has been a photojournalist, writer, and shark wrangler. As much activist as cook, she is most of all a mom determined to make the world a better place for her child, one meal at a time. She is a food blogger at Expatriate’s Kitchen and contributes to EatLocalChallenge.com and EatDrinkBetter.com. She lives in Kansas.
- Alison Wade Benjamin writes the Cleaner Plate Club blog and contributes to the website The Ethicurian. She has worked for big companies, grassroots nonprofits, and The Peace Corps. Still, one of her greatest achievements so far is seeing her children dive into a bowl of kale. She cooks, writes, and plays with her kids in Western Massachusetts.