I haven't had asparagus all winter, trying to be a good locavore, and only eating it when in season (same goes for tomatoes, I have not had a single tomato since last October! can't wait!).
Well my garden will be bursting soon with my own bounty, but I wanted to get the party started, so cheated and bought my first bunch of spring spears at the grocery store! You can scold me, I can take it! (at least it was California asparagus, and not from a foreign land). :)
A good tip for keeping your asparagus nice and crisp is to keep it in a container with some water, like a bouquet of flowers, standing upright in the fridge. This will keep it fresh for a few days in case you are not using it right away.
I made this delicious asparagus pesto and put it on pasta and added some roasted shrimp for a fantastic easy dinner.
It was also excellent on crostini and with some sliced egg.
I saw another recipe that added fresh spinach to the pesto to keep the bright green color. But the spinach probably wouldn't add much flavor, so I just stuck with the funny green color pesto from the cooked mushy asparagus.
Don't forget to save some of the tips for decoration.
Asparagus Pesto (adapted from the New York Times):
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch segments
1 clove garlic, or more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as desired
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Add the asparagus and cook until fully tender but not mushy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the cooking liquid, and let the asparagus cool slightly.
Transfer the asparagus to a food processor (save some of the tips) and add the garlic, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons of the oil, Parmesan, a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the cooking liquid.
Process the mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary, and gradually add the remaining oil and a bit more of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten if necessary. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste, pulse one last time, and taste for seasonings.
Serve over pasta, fish or chicken (or cover and refrigerate for up to a day).