by Malia Kirby L.Ac.
I don’t know what it is about wild Colorado asparagus, but I have days where I crave the stuff. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m going to turn my nose up at something grown in a garden or purchased at the store, but what grows on its own without help is just so much more BLAM in flavor. It just sucker punches you with an old Adam West Batman-style KAPOW and a ZAP, and all you can think of after that is, “Where can I get more of this?!?” One bite, and you’re hooked…or, at least that’s how it happened for the both of us. Give him the opportunity and hubbs will wax poetic about the stand on his grandmother’s property.
It’s now prime harvest season here, and if you’re patient and know where to look, it’s pretty easy to find, and that’s anywhere near water. The ideal situation is to know someone who has a stand on their property and you have their ok to harvest from it, but you can find your green gold in irrigation ditches, near creek beds, and other similar spots. As always with wildcrafting though, if you’re on private (or even state park) property, ask permission first.
Grilled Asparagus Salad
1 bunch asparagus, cleaned with woody ends removed
15-20 shiitake mushroom caps, wiped clean
¼ c olive oil, divided
1 t kosher salt
3 scallions, thinly sliced
8 c mesclun mix, cleaned and dried
1 ½ T balsamic vinegar
½ t Dijon mustard
½ t lemon zest
¼ c Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
Toss the asparagus and the mushrooms with 2 T of the olive oil until lightly coated and sprinkle with the kosher salt. Place in a grilling basket and grill for 6-8 minutes or until the tips of the asparagus begin to brown and become crispy. Remove from the grill and allow to cool.
Toss the mesculn mix with the sliced scallions and set aside.
Whisk the remaining 2 T olive oil with the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and lemon zest until emulsified, then drizzle over the salad greens. Toss the leaves until the leaves and lightly sauced with the vinaigrette, then plate into individual servings. Divide the grilled asparagus and mushrooms into equal portions, then plate each serving on top of the greens. Top with the shaved parmesan and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
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