February 25, 2014
Living all across the country has given me a new appreciation for the change of seasons. In California, the first sign of spring was the strawberry stands popping up everywhere (oh, how I miss them!). In Massachusetts, where I grew up, the robins started showing up at our bird feeder. In Oklahoma, the weather begins to waver between hot and cold and the rumbles of thunder return. I love that no matter where we eventually settle when this nomadic military life of ours is over I will remember our time in California every time I go to a farmer's market or think of Oklahoma whenever I see those beautiful/terrifying lightening flashes.
A more sure sign of spring across the country though is the ever so slight change in produce prices. Strawberries and asparagus appear. I begin watching for my ever elusive favorite (rhubarb) and the rest of the produce department just looks brighter and fresher.
Asparagus is one those items that the whole family adores and so we gorge ourselves on it in season. I'll splurge a little past the main season but once fall hits and the prices skyrocket I can't justify it anymore. When I saw the prices drop on it last week I couldn't resist grabbing a bundle. I started the season off with the most basic of recipes but it is a standard in our house. I almost hesitate to call it a recipe! We eat this as a side dish with dinner but I love cutting up the leftovers to have in a salad or pasta the next day.
What is the first sign of spring where you live?
Simple Sautéed Asparagus
One bundle asparagus, ends trimmed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
Lay the asparagus flat in one layer (if possible) in a saucepan. Pour the olive oil over them and then the salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste as you go, my numbers above are for reference. After making this one or two times you'll start just eye-balling the amount of salt and pepper you prefer. Stir together so all the asparagus is seasoned and coated in olive oil and cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. You want them to have softened but have a bit of crunch left on the ends. I find that once they become mushy the kids won't eat them.
Serve immediately or save in an airtight container in the fridge to use later.