Purple Asparagus and Herbs in an Omelette {Recipe}

Ah, asparagus season. There are so many ways to eat them, yet I find the simplest recipes are the most flavorful. Cooking is really about letting the quality of the produce speak for itself, so there isn’t much technique involved. My friends and family think I am a great cook, but I attribute my skills to the high quality ingredients I get at the farmers market. And, I can’t think of much that is easier and tastier than asparagus and good quality eggs together. There are so many ways to combine them- grilled asparagus topped with poached eggs, roasted asparagus frittatasautéed vegetables with a soft-boiled egg.

asparagus eggs

Though, this  recipe is the prettiest. And pretty food is lovely to serve and eat. I make this on a weekday morning for just Satish, and I and over the weekend, when we have friends over. However, instead of making several individual omelettes, I just make one large omelette and put the pan in the middle of the table for friends to serve themselves. The prep and cook time is rather fast, with hardly a minute in between. When making individual omelettes, have two pans going at the same time, to get to the eating part faster. 

herbs

When I do not have spring onions on hand, I use sweet yellow onions. The herbs are arbitrary, as long as they are fresh, you can use whatever you already have or what you where able to find at the farmers market or grocery store. Use one herb or a combination of herbs. Thyme, basil, flat-leafed parsley, and chives work wonderful together and alone. I use chive flowers when I can find them at the market. Flavored salts work well too, but fine grain sea salt is just fine. I was able to find purple asparagus at the farmers market and thought they would make for pretty pictures. They also make for a great wow factor, but taste the same in flavor as green asparagus. Just use the thin ones for this recipe, because they are more tender and sweet. 

Simple Spring Omelette

Serves 2, cook time ~15 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup spring onions, minced
12-14 spears of thin asparagus
1 teaspoon lavender salt
4 eggs

The vegetables. Mince the chives and parsley. In a small bowl, mix the herbs and black pepper. Set aside.

Heat up a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan on medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and a little butter. Mince the white part of the spring onion. Add the minced spring onions in the heated pan and stir. Cook until crispy and light brown, about 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, wash asparagus under cool water. Cut off the woody ends and pat off excess water with a towel. Remove the crispy spring onions from pan and set aside. If they feel greasy, you can put them on a paper towel.

cutting board

Add 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil to the same pan let it heat up for 30 seconds. Add the asparagus to the pan. Make sure they do not overlap.  Stir a couple of times to cook all sides. Add more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle lavender salt over the spears. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. It really depends on how tender you like the spears. The purple asparagus will turn bright green from the heat. Transfer the asparagus to a cool plate once done cooking.

purple asparagus

The eggs. While asparagus are cooking, beat 2 eggs vigorously with a fork, until they are frothy and whites are incorporated with the yolks. Heat a 6″ nonstick pan with 2 teaspoons butter. Coat the entire pan with the butter by swirling it around the pan. Pour the eggs into pan and cook for 45-60 seconds. With a thin silicone spatula, carefully lift the cooked portions and tilt the pan to let the runny portions reach the bottom of pan. Do this again in 30 seconds, until most of the egg is set. 

Sprinkle 1/2 of the herb mixture over the omelette. You don’t need to add sea salt here, since the asparagus is already salted. Carefully slide onto serving plate. Repeat for the remaining omelette.

herb omelette

Now, carefully arrange asparagus spears on top of each omelette. Sprinkle the browned spring onions and herb flowers on top and serve.

asparagus eggs

What are your favorite ways to eat asparagus? Please share recipes!

Farmers Market Finds: Cusp of Spring

Today was the perfect Spring day. Bright and sunny, without the iconic San Francisco fog. The farmers market was bursting with activity and I feared I was too late for the first crop of the asparagus. Things like asparagus, pasture-raised eggs, and squash blossoms always go super fast at the markets.

20130317-202119.jpg

There comes a certain time each quarter of the year when I begin to anticipate the arrival of new crops as I become bored with the current selection. Subtle signs like hearing more birds chirp outside the window and cherry trees blossoming throughout the city, get me thinking about all of the recipes I can revisit. As I walked through the market, I was mesmerized by the subtle changes taking place at each stand.

20130317-202622.jpg

The cusp of a seasonal change is the best time at the farmers market. Vegetables such as rainbow chard and broccolini are still available as the pea shoots and asparagus become abundant. This kind of availability can really kick up the creativity in the kitchen and lend to more variety in your meals.

20130317-203039.jpg

Nevertheless, I was able to get a few of the remaning stalks and texted my friends to come over for brunch. I made grilled asparagus topped with sautéed onions and fried eggs. We also had a salad made out of roasted watermelon radish, arugula, walnuts, and feta cheese. My husband did the honors of pouring freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice.

Photo Mar 15, 3 40 20 PM
Real eggs are supposed to be this rich in hue. Pale, neon yellow eggs are the biggest signs of low-quality, factory-farmed eggs. Eat vibrantly!

What are you anticipating for the Spring season?

Grilled Asparagus with Lavender Salt

Twitter or Facebook with me!
One of my favorite things about Spring is asparagus. Actually, I think I have already overdid it with the asparagus. I won 8 bunches of asparagus from a recipe contest on the Fort Mason’s Farmers Market Facebook page and I’ve really tried eating it all. Though, asparagus are relatively low-maintenance. I don’t need to do much with them and they cook rather fast. This is one of my most basic recipes for asparagus, that I probably make once a week. It’s fast. And, sometimes, I eat the whole bunch by myself. They are that good. Fresh asparagus, that haven’t been doused in pesticides or altered by biotech companies (want to have this discussion?), are healthy. I don’t question it.

Lavender is my secret ingredient. I discovered cooking with lavender when one of my college roommates brought home a bottle of Herbs de Provence (a mixture of dried herbs which include lavender). I was amazed that you could cook with lavender as I had always thought of it as a nice smelling flower. It turns out that lavender in food is magical and has many, many healing properties. It really is magical and most people cannot pinpoint what “that” flavor is, making you a culinary star. Like all other herbs, I only get organic lavender.

Often times, I eat the grilled asparagus with a fried egg for complete meal. It’s breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner. It’s also very satiating. Try it with a runny, pasture-raised egg. You will be amazed.

Ingredients
1 bunch thin asparagus
2 tablespoon olive oil or organic butter
lavender salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1-2 pasture-raised eggs (optional)

Method
Heat a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil or butter and coat the pan well. Add in the asparagus a handful at a time. You do not want to overcrowd the pan. Let the asparagus cook for a couple of minutes before turning them with a wooden spatula. Cook for a couple of minutes more or until they are tender. Sprinkle lavender salt over the asparagus and transfer to a plate. Repeat this procedure until all of the asparagus is cooked.

In the same pan or a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter. Wash the eggs and crack one egg into the pan. Cook until the whites appear solid, about 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately over the bed of cooked asparagus.

You can use a cast-iron grill pan or a regular heavy bottomed pan to cook the asparagus. I like using this pan because it creates beautiful grill marks on the asparagus.

A regular (cast-iron) pan works just as well.

Asparagus are easy yet elegant enough for potlucks. I took this dish to a potluck brunch a couple of weeks ago.

Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events. Be sure to sign-up to receive posts and updates straight into your inbox!

Farmer’s Market Find: Ranunculus, Purple Tulips, and Asparagus

Twitter or Facebook with me!
If there is anything more than desserts that I love photographing, it’s flowers. And flowers are everywhere. I really wasn’t expecting to find a flower stall at the FM today, but there it was, all bright and pretty. It was the most crowded booth also. “Mommy, I want the purple ones.” “Oh, these will be great for dinner tonight.” “I am going to buy myself flowers.” Everyone was buzzing around the flowers like bees. I actually had to step away and come back when it was a little less crowded and I could snap a few pictures without getting in someone’s way. Then I bought myself a bunch of pretty yellow ranunculus with hints of purple in it.

These flowers are organic and local, which is especially important for all of the same reasons organic, local produce is. Non-organic flowers are laden with harmful pesticides, which you do not want to bring into your environment. Also, pesticides from floral agriculture has as much negative impact on the land and farm workers as non-organic produce does.

My 11th grade English teacher asked us to look for the “color purple” in nature after reading the book “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. At that time, all of us concluded that the color purple is a rare find. Ever since that assignment, I have always kept an eye out for the color purple. In the last year, I’ve changed my mind about it being rare. Purple flowers, radishes, carrots, lettuce, fruit, asparagus, artichokes it’s all over the market!

I didn’t notice a whole lot of change or new additions at the market this week. I did get two bunches of asparagus from the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market for winning an asparagus recipe contest on their Facebook page. Asparagus are one of my favorite vegetables. I didn’t grow up eating them, because they are not part of the normal Indian diet. Also, due to asparagus’ high Vata quality, it wasn’t suitable to my parent’s Doshas. Anyway, I love eating asparagus with eggs, in salads, with quinoa, and in almost anyway possible. The simplest way is of course by just grilling them, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, with a drizzle of really good extra-virgin olive oil.

I bought Pink Cara Cara Oranges (Hamadas Farms), Broccoli (Swank Farms), Cauliflower and Fingerling Potatoes (Rio de Parros Organics), and 1 bunch organic ranunculus (Thomas Farms) Total= $16

Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook. Follow @clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events. Be sure to sign-up to receive posts and updates straight into your inbox!

Farmer’s Market Find: Strawberries and Asparagus!

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

We got the first crop of strawberries and asparagus already! Subtle signs that Spring isn’t too far away.  I am not entirely sure, but I think the two strawberry vendors at today’s market were from Southern California, where the weather is much warmer than here. Strawberries are just lovely, but they have a really thin, delicate outer and absorbs the pesticides and is listed number 1 in EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen lists fruit and vegetables exposed to the most pesticides. I will have a lot more on the strawberry issue soon enough- California did silently pass the use of methyl iodide, scientifically proven to be very dangerous.

The take home message here is that buy organic strawberries and ask the farmer questions about their farming technique. I remember seeing one of the strawberry farmer’s last summer and spring at this market but I never talked to them. I wanted to ask them a lot more questions, because I am conflicted on  eating non-organic strawberries, but I got shy! It happens. Though, I did taste the pesticide-free strawberries and it was so good.

Smoked Salmon from Montery Bay’s Blue Ocean Smoke House

I splurged a little and got smoked salmon today ($10/6 ounces). We started eating smoked salmon much more after hiking the Kalalau trail in Kauai.  We packed smoked salmon, hard goat cheese, nuts, and grass-feed roast beef deli meat to sustain us on the two-day, 12 mile hike. Now we eat it for breakfast, a quick snack, or topped on a bed of different vegetables. Of course, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon from sustainable resources. If you are not sure about which fish are safe or sustainable check out the Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch.

Celery Root- Swank Farms

We recently had celery root dessert at Ubuntu- I had no idea it looks like this in its original form.

Cheddar Cauliflower- Swank Hill Farms

No, they don’t taste like cheddar cheese! They are higher in vitamin A (the color) and taste like white cauliflower.

Tat Soi flowers- Happy Boy Farms

The tatsoi flowers are related to broccoli family and have a really nice taste to them. They are not as delicate as they look and taste wonderful sauteed with garlic, ginger, and little soy sauce.

I was at the Ferry Building for breakfast with a friend on Tuesday morning and the Tuesday market was going on. I bought a few oranges, asparagus, and ranunculus. There were tulips too, but I just adore ranunculus. The farmer gave me an awesome tip of just putting a spoonful of sugar in the water to help them bloom. They are still blooming!

Other purchases:

Spinach (Serendipity), Meyer lemons (Hamadas), Cara Cara oranges (Ken’s Top Notch Produce), Leeks (Happy Boy Farms), Button mushrooms (Far West Fungi), and Roma tomatoes (Swank Farms). I spent a total of $32 this week at the farmers market.

 

Did you know that Club Dine In! is on Twitter and Facebook? Follow@clubdinein for daily health, fitness, and social news, recipes and delicious tips! Join the Club Dine In! community on Facebook to connect with like-minded individuals and find out about exclusive Club Dine! events.