So, do you think Michael Franti drew inspiration for his band's name from eating lots of asparagus?? You have to wonder, he is a devoted yogi and vegan after all... :)
Asparagus season is still going strong in Minnesota. If you're looking for your own inspiration, here are two more asparagus recipes, one simple and one more complex, so you can become a spearhead too!
Recipe #1 - SIMPLE:
Asparagus and White Bean Salad with Feta and Lemon Dressing
from the excellent seasonal cooking guide Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, written by Angelic Organics CSA farmer John Peterson
1 lb. asparagus, cut on angle into 1 in. pieces (3 cups)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked or canned white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
2 T. thinly sliced scallions
1. Place asparagus in a steamer basket, set over 1 1/2 in. boiling water and cover. Steam for 4-7 minutes until tender-firm. Drain and rinse under cold running water or put in ice water bath to stop the cooking. When cool, drain asparagus.
2. Combine oil, lemon juice, mint, lemon zest, salt & pepper in small bowl and whisk until well combined.
3. Combine beans, feta, radishes, & scallions in large bowl. Add asparagus pieces. Pour on dressing and toss gently to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Recipe #2 - COMPLEX:
Tofu and Asparagus with Lemongrass Rub
from Deborah Madison's book, This Can't Be Tofu!
1 carton firm tofu
3 T. very finely minced lemongrass
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small shallot (or whites of 2 large scallions), finely diced
2 T. finely chopped cilantro stems
1 T. minced ginger
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
1 T. sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. peanut oil, plus extra for pan
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and peeled if thick (Amy's note: we never peel our asparagus)
4 lime wedges, plus cilantro for garnish
1. Drain and press tofu while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Puree the next eight ingredients (lemongrass through sugar) with 1/2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. peanut oil in small food processor, or mash ingredients with a pestle.
3. Cut tofu cross-wise into 8 pieces, then cut each piece diagonally so you have a total of 16 pieces. Lay the tofu on a large plate and spoon the paste over them. Use your fingers to gently press in the rub, turning the pieces over so both sides are coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be done a day ahead)
4. Heat peanut oil in large non-stick skillet and tilt pan to coat bottom. When hot, remove tofu from plate, leaving most of rub behind. Place tofu in pan in single layer and cook over medium heat until golden, 4-5 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side. Sprinkle lightly with pepper and salt.
5. While tofu is cooking, simmer asparagus in salted water until tender, then drain. Roll the asparagus in the remaining lemongrass rub and a little peanut oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve tofu and asparagus on a bed of rice, squeeze lime over everything, then garnish with cilantro.