Spring is peak season for popular vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and artichokes. This time of year offers the height of flavor, so be sure to try them while they’re at their best!
To prepare asparagus, choose a bunch with tightly closed tips and firm, bright green stalks. Asparagus can be sauteed, grilled, oven-roasted, or steamed. Try adding it to vegetable linguine alfredo or a cold pasta salad, or wrap in bacon and roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes for a party appetizer. For use as a side dish, mix 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, and 2 tsp brown sugar in a bowl. Coat asparagus in the mixture, then grill for 10-15 minutes until tender. Garnish with sesame seeds.
Spinach is another versatile vegetable; it’s delicious in a fresh salad, either alone or mixed with spring greens, and can be added to lasagna and other pasta dishes. It can also be used in place of lettuce in a BLT. For a side dish, saute 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/2 cup diced onion in 2 tbsp butter until soft, then add 2 pkgs spinach. Cover pan and steam for 5-6 minutes until spinach is wilted. Toss with bacon bits, then serve.
Fresh artichokes are amazing. Wash them before cooking, but not before storing. Slice off the stem end, and peel off the outer leaves closest to the stem. Trim off the top of the artichoke, and use scissors to remove tips from remaining outer leaves. Boil water in a large pot; add artichokes and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until leaves come out easily. Eat one leaf at a time; dip in melted butter and remove the tender portion inside the leaf with your teeth. After leaves are removed, cut into the center to enjoy the heart of the artichoke.
Blue Goose Market
300 S. 2nd Street, St. Charles, IL