Getting my spring on


Although local asparagus won’t be available here for a little while yet, I’m buying the California stuff. After all, what’s the difference between buying California broccoli or California asparagus this week? No matter how you come at it, both veggies got to my store on a truck and cooking the asparagus makes me feel joyful and excited about the great local produce that is just mere weeks away from being ready for me to cook. The broccoli? Not so much. We’ve just seen way too much of each other lately. I’m not saying I want to break up with broccoli but I do need to see some other green vegetables.

So, if like me, you can’t wait to get your spring on (or if you live somewhere where local asparagus is already available) why not treat yourself to a taste of spring by making this salad?

Asparagus & Mushroom Salad with Maple Walnut Vinaigrette:

• Arrange 2 bunches of cooked, cooled asparagus on a platter.
• Sauté some mushrooms in oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the asparagus.
• Combine 3 tbsp walnut oil, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, ½ tsp pommery mustard and ¼ tsp each minced garlic, salt and pepper in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Cover and shake well. Drizzle over salad.
• Sprinkle mushrooms with chevre before serving.

Sigh. Don’t you feel more lighthearted just imagining how good this salad will taste?

What’s your favourite way to prepare asparagus? Do you get a jump on the season (like me) or do you wait patiently for the local stuff?


12 Responses to Getting my spring on

  1. This looks lovely. I adore mushrooms and chevre. The use of walnut oil is a nice touch. It’s one of my favourite finishing oils.

    Which brand do you use? I find there’s a huge difference between brands and my absolute favourite isn’t available here.

  2. danamccauley says:

    I agree. Nut oils vary a lot from company to company. I like the California oil La Tourangelle

    It’s widely available as I’ve seen it in both independent and chain stores here in Toronto. If you try it, let me know how it compares to your fav.

  3. Barb says:

    I can’t remember ever having asparagus prepared in a way I didn’t like. Last week I had it raw with dip, in a rice pilaf with lemon zest and juice, and in a dish I kind of put together with ingredients I had on hand – chicken breast, sweet potato, and asparagus in a creamy mushroom sauce. I used lemon zest and juice in that as well. Yummy.

  4. Interesting…where i live in Northern California, all I can find is Mexican-grown asparagus.

  5. danamccauley says:

    Peter – that is odd since the California stuff is everywhere here! In fact, my friend Amy is doing TV spots to promote it to Canadians.

    Barb: sounds like you are an asparagus fan! I like the way you incorporated it into a sweet potato dish. I must try that myself. : )

  6. Rosa says:

    What a delightful salad! Very refreshing and spring-like!



  7. Cheryl A says:

    We don’t get the local stuff until the end of May, so I just wait for the price to be cheaper on the imports. We live by it grilled and drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.

  8. cheryl says:

    Dana, you’ve hit all my favorite food groups with your salad. Walnut oil, mushrooms, asparagus? Yes, please. I’ve had access to local asparagus at my farmers’ market for a few weeks now (Peter, come down to San Jose!), so I feel quite fortunate.

  9. Diva says:

    Oh, yum! The dressing sounds divine, Dana, and I love maple/mustard combo. Delish! Like you, I’m buying the CA stuff … its spring, I want asparagus and I’m not willing to wait for the local stuff … which may take awhile since, weather-wise, we’re still in winter!

  10. danamccauley says:

    So, it’s cold in NYC right now too Diva? Brrr! Is all I can say about Toronto today.

    Cheryl, I’m jealous of your farmer’s market but glad that I put a recipe out there that you might make!

    Cheryl A, the prices flucuate a lot don’t they? In that way, the broccoli is definitely the better choice, to be sure.

  11. Diva says:

    Yup, its bitter here again … 30 degrees last night … on Easter!?! I’m feeling like I’ll never be rid of my winter coat and gloves. Waah.

  12. lyanda says:

    How lovely! It’s mid-asparagus season here in Seattle–you might enjoy the super-yummy asparagus galette I made last weekend:

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