Probably the best investment you can make if you have a vegetable garden is sowing a packet of asparagus seeds. Yes, you have to wait 3 years before the plants are strong enough to take regular picking, but after that you can cut spears every year, for about the next 20 years. And considering that one packet of seed cost me 2 Euros while the price of organic asparagus runs as high as 8 Euros per pound, it’s like hitting the jackpot every spring.
Beside the regular green asparagus, I grow a very cool purple variety (sadly as with most purple vegetables the color is destroyed in cooking) and when the fancy strikes, we also blanch some spears. My daughter especially, though she is no fan of asparagus (yet), enjoys putting old pots on the plants to blanch the spears as they emerge from the ground and then checking on them regularly as they grow in the cosy environment of an inverted pot.
However, this has been a difficult year for asparagus, mainly because of the very late and very cold spring. Professional growers reported harvests 50 % less than last year, and we were similarly affected. We have one raised bed with about 16 plants and sometimes the harvest is just a couple of spears. So, how do you turn 300 g of asparagus into a dinner for 4? You make a frittata!
300 g green asparagus
3 tbsp olive oil
2 scallions, sliced thinly
2 tbsp chopped fresh spring herbs such as chervil, parsley, dill, chives
salt and pepper
150 g soft goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit).
Break off the bottom tough ends of the asparagus. If the stems are chunky, peel a thin layer off at the stem end with a potato peeler. Cut the spears into pieces about 5 cm long. Drop them into a pan of salted boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Drain and dry.
Break the eggs into a bowl and beat lightly with a whisk. Add the sliced scallions, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
In an ovenproof skillet heat the oil until very warm and almost smoking.Add the egg mixture and then quickly distribute the asparagus evenly over the dish. Top with the goat cheese, broken into large chunks. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until center is set and top is slightly puffed, about 20 to 25 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the edges and underneath the frittata to loosen before slicing into wedges. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.