Making the Most of Your Spring Garden

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molly gardenSummer weather is here. Gardens across the valley are coming into their own, and the first pickings are making their way to the table. 

In my own garden, I’m keeping my plants adequately watered, protected from frosty temperatures and free of weeds, but it will still be some time before it is brimming with produce. Luckily, some early greens such as arugula, spinach and lettuces are ready eat.

These first harvests are special and long-awaited. I, for one, have never eyed an arugula leaf as lustfully as I do at this time of year. This is the time of year when my winter diet crawls out of hibernation with the enticement of once again eating locally and fresh.

So what is one to do when you’re craving fresh, have no farmer’s market and have only a few greens ready from your garden? Thankfully, our grocery stores are also coming out of that same hibernation and the produce aisles are now stocked with fruits and vegetables whose trip to the shelves did not include a border crossing. 

Asparagus is one such vegetable that is currently in season and easy to find.  On a recent weekday evening, I biked over to the new Pearl Street Market and grabbed a bunch of the tender spears to pull together the salad below. Each bite was the epitome of spring and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Recipe: Asparagus and Arugula Salad, adapted from mynewroots.org

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, washed well and rough parts trimmed away
  • 2 cups arugula
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan or Pecorino Romano, for serving
  • Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons liquid honey
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus to create a thin ribbon and repeat until you only have a small piece of the spear left. You can then run a paring knife down the middle to separate. Transfer the asparagus ribbons to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients and whisk or shake to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning. Toss asparagus with the dressing until fully coated. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Toss the marinated asparagus with the arugula sprinkle with almonds and cheese shavings and crack some black pepper on top.
  4. Toss again, serve and enjoy!

Number of servings (yield): 2

 

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About Author

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Molly learned two things about life: that she didn’t want to spend the rest of it in a city, and that she couldn’t live without diverse, vibrant and delicious food within an arms reach. So, she started cooking. A lot. Then she moved to the mountains. A Jackson resident for 5 years now, Molly is continuing to learn to balance a life of playing in the outdoors, owning multiple pets, growing her own food, working the 8-5 office job and cooking up a storm. She loves toast, campfires, being underwater, fresh tomatoes, Patsy Cline, playing in her garden and capturing every last bit of each seasons.

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