Conscious Cook: The splendor of spring

“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

Ahh, the delicious delirium of spring — the sparkling sunshine brings forth warming, invigorating, vibrant bursts of color. 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 harmonious and natural of relationships.

Gardens are the most blessed of places. How miraculous it is to plant vegetables, fruits, berries, and herbs to sustain our bodies, and glorious 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.

Healthy, happy asparagus is a marvelous source of folate, which is essential for a high-functioning cardiovascular system. Full of potassium, asparagus is quite low in sodium, while being rich in vitamins K, C, B1, B2, B3, and B6, as well as in dietary fiber, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and protein.

This highly versatile spring ingredient takes well to roasting, grilling and steaming. The unique flavor of asparagus is particularly well suited to egg dishes, such as frittatas, stratas, quiche, or omelets.

Asparagus adds sensational spring flavor to salads, stir-frys, soups, and pasta dishes. Use a vegetable peeler to peel thin strips of the freshest, young, thicker spears of asparagus. Place the strips in a bowl and dress with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, a spritz of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Toss gently, then mound the dressed asparagus on a pretty plate and scatter parmesan shavings over for a celebratory spring salad.

You may find green, purple or white asparagus in the market. All are equally luscious. White asparagus is grown underground, a process that inhibits its development of chlorophyll and prevents the stalks from turning green. Use your asparagus within two days for the best flavor, and be sure to purchase stalks that are vibrant and firm, with tightly closed tips. Store your asparagus upright in a container or glass with an inch or two of water in the bottom. Do not wash until ready to use.

Enjoy the splendor of spring as you prepare your delicious life!

The Best Spring Breakfast

Serves 2

16 spears of fresh, young asparagus (washed and ends trimmed off)

Organic butter

4 large organic eggs

4 slices whole-grain, rye or dark bread

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Fill a pan with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus spears and cook until just barely tender, about three minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Empty water out of pan, wipe the pan clean and add one to two tablespoons of butter. Melt butter 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 slices of toast. Top each slice of toast with four asparagus spears and one fried egg. Season with salt and pepper.

For more on Robin Glowa HHC, AADP, “The Conscious Cook,” go to www.theconsciouscook.net.