I became a fan of asparagus in my twenties. When I was a kid not so much but my mom reminds me that asparagus wasn’t available fresh then in our small town. There was only the canned version. A lot has changed since then along with my taste buds. I like the flavor of asparagus and the texture when raw or cooked al dente. Al dente means cooked but slightly firm when you bite. I love to prepare it that way with blanching, sautéing, and roasting in the oven.
The best way to enjoy any vegetable is during its season. Michigan Asparagus’s season differs with region. The southwest corner’s season begins in April and ends in May while the north region’s season extends through June. While watching a Facebook live tour of one of Michigan Asparagus’s farms, I learned how fast asparagus grows. It is amazing! Each spear can grow 1/2-inch per hour. Now, that is fast.
Summertime is perfect for cooking outdoors and enjoying a picnic. I created an asparagus recipe that would be great served at a seafood boil, bbq, grill out, and more. It is my Asparagus Succotash Salad. It is not only colorful but cool and crisp. Instead of lima beans, I add blanched asparagus pieces. Blanching the asparagus is not boiling but slightly cooking to al dente while preserving its vibrant green color.
I hope you enjoy this delicious salad all Michigan Asparagus season long.
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Asparagus Succotash Salad
1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed & cut at a diagonal into 1 1/4-inch pieces (about 3 cups)*
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 cup grape tomato halves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe (slightly firm) avocado, cut into cubes
6 basil leaves, roughly torn
2 tablespoons feta cheese
Boil asparagus in a large pot of salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice cold water. Drain well.
Combine asparagus, corn, and tomatoes in a medium bowl.
In a separate small bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until combined.
Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables and toss to coat.
Add the cubed avocado and basil. Gently toss.
Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top to garnish.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Tip: When trimming asparagus spears, bend a spear until it snaps. Place this spear next to the others to know where to trim the woody end.