Asparagus Week: Whoa! Where’d those come from?

Did spring go from zero to ALL OUT in roughly 14 seconds where you live? It sure seemed that way here in New England, where the boxes of dirt and pine needles we called our vegetable garden sprang to life almost overnight. Plants going gangbusters currently include some beans (tended by a gopher family)…

…hearty chard that survived our snow-tastic winter…

…and a surprise appearance by this week’s star, asparagus.

It’s not a complete surprise to see the asparagus – it’s there thanks to our planting last year, not because of some Johnny Asparaseed sneaking into our backyard. But we were under the impression that asparagus plants took at least 2 years to produce edible stalks, so when that (admittedly, small & overgrown) bunch of spears shot up unexpectedly, I had to scramble to figure out what to do with it.

I went with a long-standing spring favorite of mine: the white bean, leek and asparagus panzanella from Smitten Kitchen. It’s a colorful, vibrant mix of spring’s best that highlights the unique flavors of each component.

But, of course, there are innumerable things you could do with those slender green spears – and the more the better, since asparagus is a good source of several vitamins (especially K), minerals (including iron), and the pre-biotic fiber, inulin. Give some of these a try, and see if asparagus surprises you, too

  • Spring panzanella from Smitten Kitchen (here)
  • Zucchini pasta with roasted asparagus & sweet potato from Spabettie (here)
  • Asparagus soup with poached egg on toast from Jamie Oliver (here)
  • Spicy pickled asparagus from Simple Bites (here)
  • Coconut ginger braised asparagus from Teaspoon of Spice (here)
  • Indian-spiced chicken & asparagus from Eating Well (here)
  • Flatbread with pancetta, mozzarella & asparagus from Cooking Light (here)


  1. Stacey says:

    I love my community garden and jealous of your asparagus — I think the heat of last summer killed my 4 year old plants off :( But fyi, what I read was that it’s not that they take 2-3 years to grow stalks, but you want the stalks to grow 2-3 years before you begin harvesting so the roots can mature. It was the hardest thing I did — allow that asparagus to grow and not cut down and eat, but by year 3 I had a massive quantity of lovely thick stalks.

    • eatingtheweek says:

      Good to know, but I will admit that I’m a little cavalier w/these particular plants b/c we’re planning to sell the house this year & they can’t come with us! I may be a little more conservative with asparagus planted at our next home.

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