We wait all winter for asparagus and when it arrives we rejoice.
It’s spring, the birds are singing, the snow is melting and we get to feast on the tender shoots of asparagus that are emerging from the waking ground. Because I don’t believe in and don’t want to contribute to the culture of eating vegetables out of season and the fossil fuel-consuming means by which they arrive on the supermarket shelf, my window for eating asparagus is limited to a few short months. During that time I allow myself and my family to splurge on one of our most expensive local crops.
Local, organic asparagus can range from $6 to $8 per pound at our farmer’s market. That’s easily as much as we spend on excellent quality pastured meat! So highlighting this precious ingredient becomes even more important. This warm asparagus salad makes an impressive side dish with contrasting colors and flavors. And, it brings an unexpected kick of spicy habanero along for the ride.
Preparing a Warm Asparagus Salad
Recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.
Preheat your oven to high broil.
Trim the asparagus to get rid of any woody, tough ends. That usually means cutting about one inch from the bottom of the shoots. Lay the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle them with the oil, hot sauce, salt, and lemon pepper. Roll them around gently until they are evenly coated.
Pop the asparagus into the oven on the highest shelf under the broiler. Broil for around 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges begin to crisp and darken.
Let the asparagus cool slightly before cutting them into 1/2-inch segments. Arrange the cut asparagus on a plate and crumble the feta over the top. Serve the dish right away or at room temperature.
Please note that not all hot sauces are created equal. Use caution and your own preferred taste when seasoning this dish!