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Food

The Virtual Panier - Asparagus

Posted by Cat / May 28, 2007

20070527_asparagus&egg.jpgAs spring gives way to summer here in Montreal, the local farmer's markets are awash with colour and verdure, and not just from the flowers crowding every greenhouse and stall. Once again, local farms have pulled through another unpredictable Montreal winter and lovely, little green things have been poking their heads up through the soil, peeking to make sure it is finally safe to venture forth.

Since they - local farmers as well as their crops - go to all this trouble to provide us with delectable eats, YOU should venture forth to your local farmer's market. Montreal is blessed with many fabulous produce markets both large and small. Many of them also offer cheeses, meats, baked goods, pantry items, and everything in between - in short, the finest our city and the surrounding countryside has to offer when it comes to dinner.
20070527_JeanTalon-banner.jpgIn addition to the city's markets, all of which are easily reachable by bike or by metro, some locals choose to sign up for a vegetable panier program. Local farms who participate in the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) network will deliver fresh fruit and veg to various drop-off points around the city (and sometimes straight to your door!). Customers pay for a "share" of the harvest at the begining of the growing season and are rewarded with freshly harvested, seasonal produce from a local, organic farm. It's a program that gives "good taste" a whole new meaning.

If you want to sign up, act fast as many farms have filled their share quotas for the season (lots of repeat customers), but there are still spots available. A list of participating farms and sign-up information is provided through the Equiterre website. CSA drop-offs often have extra produce for sale so you could easily do your shopping that way. But it's worth it to head to a farmer's market at least once throughout the summer season. It is guaranteed to nourish you on so many levels and will engage each and every one of your senses.

If commitment to a CSA program is not for you, allow Midnight Poutine to make it easy with our Virtual Panier. We'll be bringing you tips on what's in season, what you expect to find at city markets, and what the heck to do with your beautiful vegetables, once they are staring back at you from the fridge.
20070527_asparagus-stalks.jpgToday's Virtual Panier holds asparagus, and like the farm shares, get 'em before they're gone! The local asparagus season is well under way and these harbingers of spring may only be in markets for another week or two. Look for firm, unbruised stalks with a vibrant green colour. They shouldn't be limp or wrinkled. Store in the fridge crisper drawer, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.

How to enjoy these spring beauties? Easy. Asparagus is delicious when prepared very simply. Snap off the woody end of the stalk. Lightly steamed, they can be dressed simply with butter and a pinch of salt, or a dash of lemon juice or sherry vinegar, or garnished with minced fresh herbs. Chilled cooked spears are stunning when served with a simple vinaigrette and get downright gourmet when topped with sliced or crumbled hard-boiled egg. Firing up the grill? Toss raw asparagus with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and grill the spears until lightly charred. If you haven't got a barbecue, simply roast the asparagus in the oven at 450C until nicely browned or run them under the broiler. A little blackening will bring out some of the asparagus's sweetness and will lend a rich, earthy undertone. Divine!

Discussion

9 Comments

laura / May 29, 2007 at 08:25 am
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Roasted asparagus is <b>delicious</b>! And great idea with the Virtual Panier.
Jon / May 31, 2007 at 08:53 am
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This is a great idea for a 'column' or whatever you would call it in the blogosphere. I'm going to go buy some asparagus now....
asmaa / May 31, 2007 at 12:36 pm
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mmmmm ... the asparagus with crumbled eggs looks sooo delectable!
golu dolls / March 11, 2019 at 05:26 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 11, 2019 at 05:27 am
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nice post
Kanchipuram sarees / March 11, 2019 at 05:27 am
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nice post
Herbal Powder / March 11, 2019 at 05:28 am
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nice4 post

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