It’s a member of the lily family and can grow as quickly as 10 inches in one day! Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus production (behind California and Washington) and the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board says that well cared for asparagus planting will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted. Asparagus has no fat, cholesterol and is low in sodium. It’s a nutrient-dense food which in high in folic acid and is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
Anne de Mare and Kirsten Kelly’s feature-length film Asparagus! “takes viewers to the small town of Oceana, Michigan, the self-proclaimed asparagus capital of the world. After 30 years, Oceana is facing the destruction of its farming base because of a little known provision in a trade bill resulting from the ‘war on drugs’ [which has inadvertently created a a strong Peruvian asparagus competitor]. Faced with economic ruin and the loss of their beloved vegetable, the community decides to fight back.”
Featured Recipe: Asparagus Frittata
1 small bunch asparagus, about 3/4 pound
1 large or 2 small leeks
2 Tbsp. butter
4-5 hen’s eggs from family farm chickens
1/2 cup cream, half and half or whole milk, from a family dairy, if possible
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, freshly ground
Nutmeg, a little grated fresh, or 1/8 tsp. ground
1/4 cup grated cheese, such as cheddar or Monterey Jack, or crumbed feta
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Break off the tough ends of asparagus. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal.
- Slice leeks into thick rounds. Put them into a bowl of cold water and mix to get the dirt out.
- Melt the butter in an oven-safe skillet (cast iron or stainless steel). When it’s hot, lift the leeks out of the water in handfuls, shaking off any excess water, and put into the pan. Saute over medium heat until just tender.
- Add asparagus pieces to the pan along with about a Tbsp. of water. Cover the pan and allow the asparagus to steam for 1 to 3 minutes, until just tender.
- Meanwhile, mix together the eggs with cream, milk or combination.
- Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Add asparagus to the pan and pour the egg mixture over, then add the cheese, pressing it gently into the eggs. Let this cook on the stovetop over low heat for a minute or two, and then transfer to the oven and bake until the eggs are just set-this may be as little as 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes, and slice. Serve with salad, good bread, and maybe a few steamed new potatoes.
Submitted by: Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice, March 2006