By Rob Gaston, May 15th, 2014
Photos and recipe by Heather Tallman
Our friend Basilmomma (aka Heather Tallman) has shared another recipe with us for our seasonal ingredient of the month, this time around, asparagus! Heather loves the “delicately bright flavor and a subtle acidity”, and to truly experience the best flavor buy asparagus in season for Indiana during the month of May. As Tallman points out, this is one of the first crops that indicates Spring is in swing!
Some of her recommendations on choosing asparagus are to look for tightly closed tips and no flowering. These days asparagus can be found in green, purple, and white, but of course choosing whatever variety has been locally grown will usually yield the best nutrition and flavor. Use your asparagus within 5 days (or less) of purchase, and store them in either a damp paper towel or standing in a container with a little water at the bottom. A Tallman tip is to “snip off the ends (and) freeze them to use later in soups or stocks,” but just don’t forget about them! Remember that canning, freezing, and pickling are good ways to preserve locally grown food that can be used even after it is out of season!
One of the ways you are likely to find asparagus on menus and on the dinner table this time of year is in a risotto, and Basilmomma has shared her recipe for all of us to use!
4 C asparagus (about 1 1/2 lb)
3 C reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable if you want to)
1 1/2 C water
1 tb butter
2 C chopped onion (about 1 large)
2 C Arborio rice
1/2 C white wine
1 C (4 oz) fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 C heavy cream
- Puree 1 cup of asparagus with 1 cup of broth in a blender or food processor.
- Combine the puree with the remaining broth and water and place over low heat in a saucepan.
- Cook the diced onion in the butter for 8 minutes or until tender, salt to taste.
- Add the Arborio to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then adding the wine until completely absorbed.
- Add 1 cup of the broth mixture from the warm pan and stir. Once all the liquid has been absorbed, add more and allow it to absorb in to the rice. Keep adding portions of the liquid as it absorbs, stopping when the risotto is tender but not mushy.
- Stir in the remaining asparagus and cook until warmed through.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, cream, and salt and pepper to taste.