UPDATED: This article has been updated from its original post by Chef Michael Buffet with updated and new information.
In early spring, wild asparagus begins the green growing season in the Okanagan Valley. The snow in the mountains may still be melting, but the tender crunch of the pistachio-coloured stalks are ready for culinarians to work their magic. Asparagus packs a lot of flavour into delicate bites and needs little makeup to turn them from ordinary to extraordinary.
Keeping top of mind that when you use the best ingredients, you end up with the best results. For those in Kelowna who may not be able to forage for wild asparagus, right now you can purchase Duggan's Farm local asparagus from The Okanagan Table's online shop.
The recipe below is one that has been featured on Start Fresh Kitchen's spring menu. A simple treatment to preserve texture and bring out the flavour, makes each bite a celebration of the year to come.
The Wild Asparagus
- 1 bunch Wild Okanagan Asparagus
- 1/4 small Onion
- 1 whole Lemon
- 1 clove Spring Green Garlic from Wise Earth Farm
- 1 Tbsp Arlo’s Honey
- 1 pinch Chilis
- 1 Tbsp fresh Ricotta
- 1 Poached Egg
Tools: sauté pan, Microplane (fine grater), knife, cutting board.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the green garlic for approximately 4 minutes. During this time prepare an ice-bath. When finished blanching, drop the green garlic into the ice bath. This step completes the cooking process at the perfect moment, and also helps retain the bright green colour.
Dry the cooked green garlic. As necessary, trim the ends of the garlic and the asparagus so they fit nicely into the pan.
In a small stainless steel bowl mix the honey, chilis, and lemon together.
In a separate bowl, season the ricotta with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon zest.
Heat the pan, then add the cooking oil. Sauté the onions, garlic, and asparagus for between one and two minutes on medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Remember that using a good quality salt and pepper can make a big difference in your dish. I recommend Maldon Sea Salt. Pour the honey/lemon mixture over the cooking asparagus and allow the pan to deglaze for just a moment.
Serve this dish with a garnish of fresh veggies, poached egg, ricotta, and lemon zest.