As we bid adieu to the winter season and make way for the sweet spring to come in, partaking in a delicious vegetable side dish such as Asparagus with a Zesty Dijon Sauce seems like the perfect way to enjoy the best of what has been and what is yet to come.
Ah, the first day of spring!
Here we are, once again, basking in the amazing scent of floral blooms in the air as they fill the evenings with purple-scented sweetness.
Late December allowed us to celebrate the holiday season with the cold crispness necessary in order for the lighting of fireplaces to make sense, as well as the use of cozy blankets, and knit beanies or caps when we’d venture outside. We were even blessed with some much needed rain here and there over the past few months, adding to that longed-for wintery atmosphere.
But short-lived our winter here was, indeed, and it makes me just a little bit sad that it’s now officially leaving us, not to return again for many, many more months.
Oh, the fickle “winters” of La-La Land. That’s just the way it is here, and I highly doubt it’ll ever be any different.
For quite a while now already, our days here on the west coast have been filled with lots of very warm temps and lulling breezes, and it’s been preparing me for the fact that the warm weather is here to stay, once again
But at least this season comes with the promise of more colorful produce-rich offerings to entice us with, and awaken our palettes.
Delicious and healthy vegetable sides are something to relish all year long, and we most certainly do relish them; but somehow when we begin our exit out of the winter season, tiptoeing towards the spring, it just seems like the proper thing to do is to highlight a winter-spring vegetable and enjoy its benefits and its earthy flavor.
And Asparagus has always been a favorite of mine.
The thin, crisp, bright-green stalks have always enticed me, and been the perfect recipients for just a simple little “dress up”, making it a wonderful companion to any main dish.
A touch of Dijon mustard, a crispy shallot, a bit of good olive oil, some spice and some herbs, and a little sprinkle of flaked sea salt for a finishing flourish make this lovely vegetable, this slim and succulent spear, irresistible.
So, farewell my beloved winter season.
Truthfully, I haven’t experienced you in your full glory in long, long time now anyway, not since my early days in Michigan; I’ve only felt a whisper of you here on the west coast, but I’ll take even that whisper, that trace of you, when I can get it.
And to spring, as you begin to arrive, spinning and twirling and dancing your way through in the golden sun rays, please be merciful and plentiful with us; bring in your water droplets from the sky that we so desperately need here in these parts, so that those wonderful buds may grow and continue to bloom, bringing more sweetness and light into our lives as the days get longer.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Asparagus with a Zesty Dijon Sauce
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 4
• 12 ounces asparagus, stalky bottoms trimmed (look for medium-thickness spears)
• ½ lemon
• Olive oil
• 1 shallot, finely minced
• Zesty Dijon Dressing (recipe below)
• 2 tablespoons slices almonds, for garnish
-Fill a large pan or pot with water, and squeeze the ½ lemon into it; add enough salt to make it taste like the ocean, and bring to the boil.
-Add in the asparagus, and blanch for about 2-3 minutes, or until crisp-tender; drain and plunge into ice water to shock and stop the cooking, and to maintain the vibrant green color; drain and pat dry.
-Place a large pan over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 1 tablespoon of the oil; once hot, add in the shallot, and saute for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add in the Zesty Dijon Dressing to warm through; add in the asparagus and toss to coat in the warm dressing; add a pinch of salt/pepper, if needed.
-Serve with the sliced almonds sprinkled over top.
Zesty Dijon Sauce Ingredients:
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• 1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 teaspoon honey
• ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
• ¼ teaspoon, plus a pinch, salt
• Pinch black pepper
• Juice of ½ small lime
-Add all ingredients to a small dish or bowl, and whisk together until smooth and completely blended; use immediately, or keep covered in fridge until ready to use.