Spring is in the air and all the wonderful vegetables that come along with it are starting to pop up at local farmer’s markets. It’s time again to pick up some of the various selections that are starting to make appearances. Spring is a great time to love food, and play on the natural flavors and textures without too many heavy spices coming into play. Gathering your friends and family for lunch on a beautiful spring day, in my opinion, is absolute bliss.
This week I wanted to share a grilled Spring Onion and Asparagus dish that I love to prepare this time of year. It has all the things you could ask for in a healthy, spring delicacy. This recipe is meant to be shared, so cutting it in half for a smaller gathering or doubling it for a big party should be no sweat. Enjoy!
Grilled Asparagus and Spring Onions with Berry Bacon vinaigrette
2 bundles trimmed fresh asparagus (usually in 1lb bunches)
2 bunches spring onions (if they are big, cut them in half lengthwise)
1 basket fresh blackberries (about 1 cup)
1 basket fresh raspberries (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 small shallot minced
4-5 slices of thick bacon minced
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup warm water
Kosher salt & Freshly ground black pepper
Edible orchids for garnish (can be found in most speciality grocery stores and are optional)
Pre-heat your grill to medium high and make sure it is well seasoned. In a large mixing bowl, toss asparagus and onions in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (or to coat) and season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spread the asparagus and onions over your grill opposite the bars on the grill. Grill vegetables lightly rolling them with tongs. Remove to serving dish and set aside.
In a large skillet add minced bacon, warm water and remaining olive oil. Bring to a boil and cook until the water is evaporated; this will render all of the fat from your bacon. Once the water has evaporated, reduce the heat to medium and cook the bacon, stirring frequently to keep it from sticking, until it’s fully cooked and a little white foam appears in the fat. Add your shallots. Cook for one minute then add half of each type of berry and brown sugar and cook for one to two additional minutes or until they break down. Whisk in your vinegar a little at a time until emulsified.
Arrange asparagus and onions on a large serving platter and pour warm vinaigrette over the top. Garnish with orchids and remaining berries. Serve immediately.
Here are some upcoming food events that focus on fresh spring ingredients and farming as a business! There are even a couple farm tours and dinners so you can enjoy delicious spring ingredients just a few steps from where they were grown!
TONIGHT! Friday, March 15 I Seattle Tilth’s March “Early Bird” Edible Plant Sale – Seattle, Washington Head out to Seattle Tilth’s March “Early Bird” Edible Plant Sale at 6pm tonight and have first pick of organic spring veggies for your garden! Shop ahead of the crowds and choose from Seattle’s largest variety of early organic veggie & herb plants, plus perennial edibles!
Thursday, March 21 I Financing Your Farm – New York, New York Choosing the right loan for you and your farm business can be overwhelming. Join FARMroots, ACCION, and the Farm Service Agency as they present some of the different options you have as small producers. Producers will have an opportunity to speak with ACCION, USDA, and other loan providers about their individual needs and begin filling out loan paperwork.
Saturday, March 23 I KCAA Spring Farm Walk and Potluck – Silverdale, Washington The Kitsap Community and Agricultural Alliance Spring Farm Walk, sponsored by Pheasant Fields Farm, will feature a potluck at noon followed by a farm tour and talks about farming essentials. Come learn about drip irrigation, rain water catchment systems, developing a farm plan, hoop house production, year-round cropping and take part in a tractor demo.
Sunday, March 24 I A Tasting of Spring – New York, New York Chef Charles, originally from Sri Lanka, has grown up and lived within many cultures and traditions including Ethiopia, Nigeria, England, Mexico and the United States and his global influences continue to inspire him. On March 24th 2013, Chef Charles is giving New Yorkers yet another chance to revitalize their culinary spirits. He is bringing his famed Supper Club dinner to the beautiful Devi restaurant just steps from Union Square. The dinner will be a five course contemporary culinary adventure across Asia to ring in spring and get your senses tingling. The menu is diverse and adventurous making stops in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan – the confluence of flavors orchestrated with the esthetic touch of a creative cuisinier will leave your palate enthralled.
Sunday, April 21 I Brunch and Mint Creek Farm Tour – Kempton, Illinois Meet up with the tour group at beautiful Greenhouse Bed and Breakfast which is just down the road from Mint Creek Farm. Enjoy a hearty, delicious brunch before heading out with farmer Harry Carr who will guide you around his 230 acres of pasture and a wide variety of farm animals. There will be plenty of time to visit all the animals living on the farm including cows, chickens, pigs, sheep and goats. There are many, many baby lambs and goats waiting to meet you in the coverall building where it is nice and warm.