Local asparagus

By Lucia May 22, 2021

It’s lean, it’s green, it’s only here for a few weeks. If you’ve been thinking about stocking your fridge with a Clover meal box, this might be the week to do it, because while supplies last, all full-sized boxes (in the “Meal Box” category) will come with a free gift of local asparagus, for you to try your hand at cooking.

In Hadley, where most of our produce comes from, this hard-to-grow spear is known as Hadley Grass. It shoots up overnight when the conditions are just right. When asparagus is local, it’s sweet and tender, grassy with sort of a broccoli overtone. We can’t get enough of it in May and June. Right now we’re getting ours from Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon.

To get in on this, be one of the first 300 folks to order any full sized box from the “Meal Box” category, and pick any order date from Tuesday the 25th to Saturday the 29th. Yes, you read that right. That’s 5 days a week we’re distributing boxes! 

What should you do when asparagus shows up on your front doorstep?

grilled my first haul of the season with veggie kebabs.
And also made this asparagus and ramp soup.
You could toss them in pasta.
Or make a savory asparagus and ricotta tart
You could even use asparagus in a dessert! like this NY pastry chef is doing.

But my absolute favorite method is Rolando’s recipe from when we used to serve asparagus as a 3pm special.

Peep this vintage video of Rolando to learn his very helpful asparagus tips, and see the Clover management team horsing around at the old HSQ, circa 2013! Here’s the recipe:

Rolando’s Asparagus with Lemon Zest, Parsley and Black Pepper

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed
1 whole lemon
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the pot.

2. While your water heats up, lay your asparagus down on a cutting board. Line up all the tips of the spears. Using a sharp knife, in one movement, trim off the bottom inch of all the spears. Discard those. With asparagus spears still lined up, cut all of them in half crosswise so each spear is now two spears.

3. Zest lemon until you have at least 1 tablespoon of zest, more if you like. Cut lemon in half, and then cut each half into quarters for easy squeezability. You probably won’t use all the lemon for this dish – use any leftovers for water, soda, or other meals.

4. Place asparagus in boiling water and put the lid on the pot. Set a timer for 2.5 minutes.

5. When timer goes off, immediately remove asparagus from the pot and transfer to a bowl.

6. Sprinkle asparagus with lemon zest, finely chopped parsley, salt, and black pepper to taste. Squeeze as much lemon juice as you like over the asparagus and serve, making sure to get all the delicious “sauce” from the bottom of the bowl. 

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