Asparagus is one of the earliest Michigan crops. The season lasts about eight weeks in Michigan. I have found that I prefer asparagus fresh rather than preserved. Therefore, I eat it during those eight weeks until I can no longer eat another stalk.
Did you know that Michigan, home to 125 asparagus farms, ranks third in the nation for asparagus production? Our farmers produce up to 25 million pounds of asparagus seasonally on approximately 11,000 acres of farmland. This is worth an estimated 15 million dollars annually. Asparagus is low in calories and has 3 grams of fiber per 5.3 ounce serving.
The freshest asparagus will be found at a local farmers market. Look for spears with tight, smooth tips. The whole stalk should be smooth and taut. Don’t purchase wilted asparagus. It will not keep well, and it will not be tender when cooked. Always wash it a sink of cold water, swishing it around being especially careful to remove sand and grit from the ends. It is best stored in the refrigerator in a tall container with the cut ends sitting in water. It stays fresh for over a week this way.
Asparagus Portobello Oscar, featured below, is one of my all-time favorite recipes. The first step is to make a Béarnaise sauce. It is the finishing touch to a layer of tarragon mashed potatoes, portobello mushroom caps, and asparagus spears.
Béarnaise Sauce (1 cup)
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
3/4 cup hot butter (just off boil)
Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, and tarragon in a blender. Process until combined. Then, on low speed add ¼ cup of melted butter. On high speed add ½ cup of melted butter.
(I found a vegan Béarnaise sauce here, but haven’t tried it yet.)
Asparagus Portobello Oscar
1. Make the béarnaise sauce.
2. Make mashed potatoes ( 2-3 medium potatoes for two servings) and add ½ teaspoon tarragon, or to taste
3. Sauté asparagus spears (6-8 for two servings) in olive oil until tender.
4. Sauté portobello cap slices (8 slices for two servings) until browned and cooked through.
Assemble as follows.
5. Place mashed potatoes on plates with mushrooms on top.
6. Layer the asparagus spears onto the mushrooms.
7. Top with béarnaise sauce.