July 29, 2014

The splendor of spring: spears of asparagus

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,

Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere,

And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast

Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”

— Percy Bysshe Shelley

The delicious delirium of spring — the frigid weight of winter is cast off; and sparkling sunshine brings forth warming, invigorating, vibrant bursts of color and the delight of longer days. 

Sweet crocuses unfurl their pale purple petals, and daffodils crack open their bright yellow buds. Like a joyous declaration of love, the Earth celebrates its renewal by inviting us to once again join seed and soil to create the most natural and harmonious of relationships.

Gardens are the most magical places. The rich scent of freshly turned Earth is like the most pleasurable perfume to gardeners. What a blessed pursuit to plant vegetables, fruits, berries and herbs to sustain our bodies; and beautiful flowers to sustain our souls.

The most regal of all spring crops surely must be asparagus. Prized as an epicurean delight, the succulent flavor of fresh spring asparagus is a gustatory pleasure treasured by kings and commoners alike.

Asparagus is as healthy as it is delicious; and is a marvelous source of folate, which is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. A good source of potassium, asparagus is quite low in sodium and contains vitamins K, C, B1, B2, B3, B6, dietary fiber, manganese, copper, phosphorous and protein.

Green and white asparagus are widely available. White asparagus is grown underground, a process that inhibits its development of chlorophyll and prevents the stalks from turning green. Use asparagus within two days for the best flavor; and purchase stalks that are vibrant and firm, with tightly closed tips.

Highly versatile, this wonderful harbinger of spring will take well to roasting; grilling; steaming; added to salads, stir-frys, soups, pasta dishes; and is especially well-suited to egg dishes such as stratas, quiche or omelets.

Celebrate the sensational flavors of spring as you prepare your delicious life!

The best spring breakfast

Serves 2.

4 slices whole-grain or rye bread

4 large, organic eggs

16 spears, fresh, thin asparagus, washed and ends trimmed off

Organic butter

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a frying pan with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus spears and cook until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Empty water out of pan, wipe it clean and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter. Melt over medium-low heat. Fry eggs until desired doneness. While eggs are frying, toast bread to a perfect golden brown.

Spread a bit of butter on each slice of toast. On two plates, arrange two pieces of toast. Top each slice with four asparagus spears and one fried egg.

Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, is a food and wellness professional who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College. She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes for children and adults, as well as cooking presentations and wellness workshops for many local organizations. For more information go to theconsciouscook.net, call 203-393-1037, or go to confessions ofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.