I’m writing this post fresh off a balmy 80° day, one I welcomed with open arms and bare feet. I think it’s fairly safe to say that spring has officially sprung!
This time of year is my personal favorite. I love the buzzing energy, the chirping birds, and the dew-glistened, newly sprouted growth. I love the transition to the first local produce of the year. And I especially love the asparagus!
Asparagus has been prized for both its epicurean and medicinal uses since ancient times—it’s even depicted on an Egyptian frieze that dates back to 3000 BC. It’s an extremely low-glycemic vegetable that’s packed with ample quantities of vitamin K, many of the B vitamins, high amounts of copper and selenium, plus vitamins C and E. Asparagus also contains a surprisingly high amount of inulin, a compound commonly referred to as a “prebiotic.” Inulin doesn’t break down in the first segments of the digestive tract like most carbohydrates. Instead, it makes its way straight to the large intestine undigested, where it acts as a model food source for certain healthy gut microflora such as lactobacilli. This good bacteria aids in nutrient absorption and digestion and stimulates further gut microflora growth.
Asparagus is versatile, and you can prepare it with the utmost simplicity. Try it steamed with a squeeze of lemon or gussy it up for more elaborate dishes. This fresh salad is the best of both words. It’s suitable for a fancy dinner party, but it also presents the unique flavor of asparagus in an uncomplicated way.
Springtime Asparagus Salad with Bacon, Egg, and Tarragon
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves 4–6 as a hearty side dish.
½ lb. quality bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
3 tablespoons red wine, white wine, or champagne vinegar
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 sprig tarragon, leaves removed and chopped
2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut to equal lengths, woody ends discarded
- Fry chopped bacon in a shallow pan until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain.
- Meanwhile, place eggs in a small pot and fill with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, but leave pot on the burner. Set a timer for 12 minutes. When time is up, drain eggs and run them under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel and cut in half lengthwise. Slice into half moons or roughly chop them.
- Combine vinegar, shallot, Dijon, and a good pinch each of salt and pepper in a bowl. Whisk and slowly drizzle in olive oil until combined. Add tarragon. Adjust seasoning to taste. Set aside.
- Steam asparagus until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain. Arrange them in the base of a glass serving dish. Drizzle asparagus with dressing, then scatter bacon and egg on top. This dish may be served warm or chilled, or at room temperature.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products