Woohoo for spring! You can now sit outside, put away the winter coats and extra layers, and enjoy the pleasure of pulling inchworms off of your clothes when you come in from outside and then watching them inch along on your finger.
You can also find ways to slide asparagus into at least one meal every day, as I’ve been attempting to do as soon as I realized that not freezing weather=asparagus season. Sometimes, I even eat asparagus more than once a day.
The simplest way to prepare asparagus is a quick stove top steam or roast in the oven, so that’s what I usually do. But I came across a recipe temptingly titled “Absolutely addictive asparagus, “ and if that name doesn’t convince you to try a new recipe, I’m not sure what will. I, however, did not find the dish absolutely addictive. Not even slightly addictive. If left me wanting more but not more of it. The flavors were just not what I wanted– I’d really been looking for something that focused on asparagus and leeks with some garlic thrown in but not much else. So I did exactly that. I came up with a recipe that perfectly fit the bill for my ideal warm salad with asparagus and leeks.
This dish has leeks, shallots and garlic, all which give it a big dose of flavor, and the asparagus is tossed in the pan until it’s both crisp and tender. The small amount of bacon grease gives it a hint of smoky bacon flavor without any soggy bacon pieces, and lemon zest brightens it all up and brings the flavors together. It’s best warm or at room temperature, so you shouldn’t regret not having any leftovers. In fact, that gives you more of a reason to devour it today and make it again tomorrow.
Note: If you don’t have bacon fat on hand, dice one slice of bacon and cook it. Once it is brown and crispy, remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pan.
1 teaspoon bacon fat
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved and slivered
1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
kosher or flaky salt
zest of ½ a lemon
1. Melt the bacon fat in the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Mix the leek and asparagus into the pan, and cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes, tossing often.
3. Remove the pan from heat and season with two pinches of salt and a couple shakes of pepper. Stir in the lemon zest, and serve immediately.