In Season: Asparagus

Did you know it takes three whole seasons of growth before an asparagus plant can be harvested? Although asparagus is traditionally known as green, it also comes in white and purple varieties. Consuming only 5 spears equates to about 20 calories, 3 grams of fiber, and 400 mg of potassium. They are also a great source of vitamins B1, B6, and B9.


Garlic-Grilled Asparagus

3 tablespoons olive oil
juice from half a lemon
6 cloves of pressed or minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
desired amount of asparagus

Wash and dry asparagus. Cut and remove 1 inch from the bottom of each stalk. In a large bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Toss asparagus spears in the mixture, allowing it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Place asparagus spears directly on the grill rack and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the spears and cook for another 3 minutes. If a softer consistency is desired, continue cooking, turning at 3-minute intervals.


Baked Parmesan Asparagus

2 to 3 bunches of asparagus
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil 4 cups water, add salt and asparagus. Cook until tender, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove asparagus from boiling water, rinse with cold water, then pat dry. Arrange asparagus on one (or more) flat baking sheets and evenly sprinkle with salt and pepper, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Toss the spears to evenly coat and bake for 6 minutes or until cheese is browned.


Asparagus Casserole

1 bunch asparagus
1 medium chopped red pepper
1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup butter OR 4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups of cubed bread
1 cup chopped bacon (cooked)
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or milk substitute
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, set aside. Wash, dry, and cut one bunch of asparagus into 1-inch pieces, being sure to remove the ends Saute asparagus, red pepper, and onion with butter or olive oil for 5 minutes. Layer bread, bacon, and cooked vegetables in the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl mix together eggs, milk, and salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the layered ingredients and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and let cool before serving.