recipe: Make an asparagus omelette for breakfast or supper
Photo | Kim Bayer
I've been worried about the asparagus crop this year. Our weird spring has left Michigan's asparagus threatened by unusually warm weather and Michigan's asparagus farmers needing workers to harvest the early crop.
First grown east of the Mediterranean, asparagus is in the lily family and has been cultivated for more than 3,000 years. According to the Michigan Asparagus Board, Michigan is the third largest producer of asparagus in the country, harvesting 25 million pounds from 11,000 acres annually. Michigan asparagus is harvested by hand, snapped off at the ground, and comes mostly from small family farms in Oceana County on the west side of the state.
The movie "Asparagus! (a Stalk-umentary)" chronicles the difficulties of Michigan asparagus farmers, who have been systematically undercut as a result of U.S. policy on international trade. This year, estimates are out that perhaps 25 percent of Michigan's asparagus crop will be lost because of the early spring thaw, hard frosts and a shortage of migrant laborers.
But Saturday I found that asparagus, in season from April through June, has arrived at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market. Kapnick's, Merry Berry Farm and Carpenter's Organic Produce all had brisk sales of this harbinger of spring.
I like the fattest asparagus spears. They are the best for grilling, and for my nickels they have the best flavor too. I make sure to peel or break off any tough, woody part of the lower stem, but the rest is all totally tender and delicious.
I made an asparagus omelet for Sunday breakfast, but it would also be a quick and tasty dinner. I'm not sure this is the "Julia-approved" technique for making an omelette, but it was delicious!
3/4 cup (Carpenter Organic) asparagus, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 stalks (Dyer Family Farm) green garlic (or 1 clove Capella Farm garlic), chopped into small bits
1 tablespoon (Calder) butter
4 (Green Things Farm) eggs
2 tablespoons (Capella Farm) chives, chopped fine
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup grated gruyere cheese
Melt 1 tablespoon butter and saute garlic until golden. Add asparagus and cook until just beginning to be tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.
Break eggs into a bowl, add salt, pepper and chives, and beat with a fork. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add eggs all at once. Cook over medium (or even medium-low) heat until eggs are almost completely set, but still moist on top.
Spread warm asparagus over half the cooked eggs, and top with grated cheese. Fold the eggy side up over the asparagus. Cut in half and serve. With toast! If I were having it for dinner I think I'd like a nice glass of summery white wine. And perhaps some goat cheese on my toast.