The Farmer's Daughter|
Our blog is written by Jennifer Shea, Dan and Cathy's oldest daughter. Jennifer is part of the 13th generation of Schoonmakers to work on Saunderskill Farm.
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Asparagus- Our first Crop
May 23, 2012
Asparagus Poking Through Asparagus Ready To Harvest
(Notice the little one coming up?)
After a long winter we all get anxious in the spring for some fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables. We get tired of the mediocre vegetables found in the supermarket and crave freshness. One of the first vegetables we harvest on the farm is asparagus. The green spears are so tender and so delicious you can eat them raw. It is like nothing you've ever tasted before. When and if I ever buy asparagus from a grocery store it is necessary to trim a good couple of inches from the bottom to remove that woody texture. Not this asparagus! I guarantee the bottom tastes just as good as the top! Asparagus with it's green fleshy spears and a bud like top is harvested when it's about 8 inches tall. Green is the most popular variety seen but asparagus does come in two other colors, purple and white. The purple offers a slightly fruitier flavor, but if cooked to long will turn back to green. The white variety is grown underground and is more of a delicacy. Because of the labor it requires to harvest, white asparagus is often more expensive. You will mostly see it canned or fresh in gourmet specialty stores.
One of the great things about asparagus is that it is super easy to prepare and there are so many different ways you can eat it! My favorite is to toss the whole spear with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper, put it on a roasting pan and roast in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. My husband likes to coat the Asparagus with Sesame Oil and Sesame Seeds and grill them. Some people like to steam them and serve with a Hollandaise sauce. Another recipe I have tried is to lightly steam the asparagus, cook bacon. Make a bundle of 4-5 asparagus and wrap the cooked bacon around. Place all bundles in a baking dish, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake about 15 minutes. mmm this is good!
Asparagus is so versatile and adds color and flavor to any favorite dishes. Try substituting in recipes that call for peas or spinach, add to your garden salad, quiche, sandwiches etc.
Asparagus will be around for a little while longer, but before you know it the season will over. The good news is it's only spring and there are lots more fresh green vegetable to look forward to!
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh chives (from 1 bunch), divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
- 1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese
- Position rack in lower third of oven, place a pizza stone or large pizza pan on the rack and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside. Trim asparagus spears to about 6 inches long; slice any thicker stalks in half lengthwise. Steam slightly. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 cup chives, salt and pepper.
- Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 14-inch circle.
- Carefully remove the pizza stone or pan from the oven and set on a heatproof surface, such as your stovetop. Place the dough on the stone or pan and brush with the reserved garlic-oil mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese and the remaining chives.
- Carefully return the stone or pan to the oven and bake the pizza on the lower rack until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.