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Spring Arrivals

 

Photo courtesy of Frank Vincentz

This week, Hillside Farm and Herrcastle Farm will be returning to the market. Both feature freshly harvested seasonal vegetables; additionally, Herrcastle grows fruits and Hillside features cut flowers. You can expect amazing spring salad greens, peas, kale, spinach and other cool season vegetables this week, and of course, asparagus.

Recipe: Asparagus and White Bean Salad

My daughter-in-law made this salad for our Mother’s Day Brunch. As soon as I tasted it I immediately asked her for the recipe. She said, “It is so easy!” I said, “It is so good!” With that combination of superlatives, I thought, “What better recipe could I share with Media Farmers’ Market friends?” Not only does it use my favorite spring vegetable, it includes protein and fresh lemon – perfect for this time of year.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (15- to 19-oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained well (3 to 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 (1/2-lb) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano or Birchrun Farms “Clipper”
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To Prepare:

Cut asparagus on a diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices.

Bring oil, lemon zest, juice, salt, and pepper to a simmer in a 4-quart heavy saucepan, then stir in beans and asparagus. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, remove enough cheese from piece with a vegetable peeler to measure about 1/2 cup shavings. Add shavings to beans along with parsley, then toss. ( I used an old-fashioned, four-sided grater instead of a vegetable peeler. It worked very well. I also used a bit more cheese than the recipe called for.)

If you want to give your family and friends an extra treat, consider making these toast rounds to go with the salad:

  • 4 slices country-style bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise

While beans are standing, spread hot toast with butter and rub buttered side of each with cut side of garlic clove, then season with salt and halve. Serve bean salad with toasts.

Of course, you can purchase the asparagus you need for this recipe, as well as the flat-leaf parsley at the farmers’ market. Birchrun Farms makes a cheese called Clipper that is a great stand in for the Parmigiano-Reggiano. And Great Harvest makes a nice small baguette style loaf that would work well for the buttered and garlic toasts.

We’ll be at the Market, rain or shine, with Hometown Fresh Food!

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