It’s asparagus season!  And in my household, that means we turn to all things asparagus, capitalizing on fresh-picked, sometimes even still warm from the sun, asparagus at almost every meal!  Asparagus has such a beautiful, delicate flavor, and simply steaming and serving it with a little butter or hollandaise is enough to make for a sensational side.  But it can grace the table in so many ways—my only rule is to not overpower it with spice or heavy sauces, as the flavor can easily get lost. 

Within the past couple of years I have discovered two recipes that we make multiple times during the season without fail.  The first, Asparagus Leek Quiche, may seem difficult, but don’t let it intimidate you!  Though I’d always recommend making the crust from scratch (use a food processor to make quick work of it!), you could always resort to a good quality, pre-purchased one if rolling pie crust scares you.  Mine certainly aren’t pretty, but they taste superior to anything I have found in the store.

The second is a Grilled Asparagus and Melon Salad, consisting of a mix of ingredients that you would never guess pair so well together (AND it’s an excuse to get out your grill for the season).  Grilled asparagus forms the base of the salad, and it’s topped with juicy cantaloupe, fresh mozzarella cheese and buttery, toasted pine nuts creating a sweet and salty taste combination and a mix of contrasting textures that can’t be beat!

Asparagus Leek Quiche

Recipe from Martha Stewart

For the Crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling the dough)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons ice water (plus more if needed)

Items in bold are produced locally and can be bought at the PFC or markets

In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugar until just combined.  Add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water.  Pulse until mixture is crumbly but holds together when squeezed.  Add more cold water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Do not overmix.

Turn dough onto a cutting board and form it into a ¾ inch disk.  Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour, until firm.

To roll dough, unwrap it and place it on floured work surface.  Roll to a 14-inch round and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate.  Trim overhang to 1 inch, fold it under and pinch to form fluted crust.  Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

For the Quiche:

1 tablespoon butter

1 leek (white and green parts only), halved and thinly sliced (wash thoroughly)

1 pound asparagus, woody ends removed and thinly sliced on the diagonal

4 large eggs

1 ¼ cups half-and-half

Ground nutmeg

1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

Coarse salt and pepper

Items in bold are produced locally and can be bought at the PFC or markets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the leek and asparagus and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes.  Let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and a large pinch of nutmeg.  Place pie crust on a rimmed sheet pan, and add half of the asparagus mixture.  Sprinkle with the cheese and add the remaining asparagus mixture.  Pour the egg mixture on top.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, until quiche is set.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Delicious with salad greens tossed with a simple vinaigrette or fresh fruit.

Grilled Asparagus and Melon Salad

Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentis


1 to 1 ½ pounds asparagus, woody ends trimmed

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 of a cantaloupe, peeled, seeded and cut into ¾ inch cubes

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ¾ inch cubes

3 tablespoons pine nuts

Items in bold are produced locally and can be bought at the PFC or markets

Begin by toasting the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, until browned and fragrant.  Remove from pan to cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper.  Add cantaloupe and mozzarella cheese, tossing to combine.  Set aside.

Toss asparagus with the 2 teaspoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill several minutes each side, until brown and tender.

To serve, arrange asparagus on plate, top with cantaloupe mixture and drizzle any extra vinaigrette over the top.  Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Serves 2 as a main dish;  4 to 5 as a side.

Katie Jacobs is a student in the Culinary and Sustainable Food Systems program at KVCC’s Healthy Living Campus, and owner of The Food Stork, a meal kit delivery business focusing on bringing local, seasonal, healthy foods to your table.  Launching in Summer 2016.