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. We’re lucky to have forager Scott clipping and delivering same-day to our restaurant, and the freshness is incredible.
The recipe below is one that you’ll find on our menu at Start Fresh Kitchen for the next few weeks. A simple treatment to preserve texture and bring out the flavour, making 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.
Find fresh Okanagan asparagus at these locations:
Michael Buffett is President of the Start Fresh Project Society and owner of the Start Fresh Kitchen, a social enterprise cooking school and catering company that creates awareness and provides support directly to the Start Fresh Project’s programs.
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce "Top 40 under 40"
Winner of Change-Up 2018
Finalist for the City of Kelowna Award "Corporate Community of the year 2018"