By: Katherine Ernst
April Showers bring May flowers … as well as delicious asparagus here at the Jersey Shore. New Jersey comes in at number four nationally in asparagus production. The power vegetable is packed full of potassium, fiber, thiamin, folate, glutathione and Vitamins A, C, E & B6. The low calorie and low sodium veggie has zero fat or cholesterol making it a perfect side dish or snack throughout the spring and summer months. The general growing season in New Jersey is April through June.
Asparagus is one of the healthiest and versatile vegetables Ocean County residents have readily available at local farms. It’s so simple to prepare and tastes delicious when paired with local seafood or a hearty steak. When picking your own asparagus be sure to choose organic, medium to thick pieces that are lengthy and tight at the tips. These will cook best and give you that crunch while still tasting tender. The nutritional balancing properties and quick prep time make this a Jersey staple you don’t want to miss!
Here are a few of my Amazing Asparagus Recipes:
- Grilled Asparagus: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper over a few dozen asparagus spears. Place asparagus directly on grill over direct medium heat for approximately 15 minutes turning once to cook evenly.
- Asparagus Soup: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper over two dozen asparagus spears. Place evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes, flipping once. Place spears, 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth, two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and fresh pepper in blender or food processor. Blend until creamy and pour into a medium/large pot. Heat on stove for approximately 20 minutes and enjoy!
- Brunch Combo: After a weekend barbeque, use your leftover grilled asparagus for a scrumptious brunch dish. Dice up the leftover spears into smaller pieces and mix into a goat cheese omelet. Throw in other leftover grilled veggies and some roasted red peppers for a true Ocean County farm fresh meal!
The local farms are ready for another terrific season here at the Shore! Be sure to check out a farm near you as well as the numerous Farmers’ Markets spread out over Ocean County. Support local businesses all season long and give your body the nutritional & delicious food it deserves!