Spring, the way I see it, is best enjoyed naked. When the first flowers burst through the soil, or explode out of their buds, they often appear in an instantaneous blaze of color, and with no--or at least quite simple--leaves. When the first edible treasures appear, they often do so without the jungle of green that precedes the luscious fruits of summer. Asparagus shoots up as a an unencumbered spear, and mushrooms almost magically bubble out of lifeless looking logs.
These seemingly simple first signs of spring bring with them the most delicate, and fleeting, flavors of the year. So when I make them into a meal, I do as little to them as possible. Spring is the season of the perfect bite. It helps prepare us for the rush of flavors that will be bombarding our senses in the next couple of months.
This year, with the mild temperatures we have had over the last several months, spring is here early. The flavors are coming now. Don’t miss out.
Lightly Sauteed Asparagus with Shiitake
10 spears of the freshest asparagus you can find
1 medium Shiitake
1 Tablesppon finely chopped chives or green garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
Finishing salt and pepper to taste
Slice asparagus lengthwise
Slice shiitake into thin slices
Heat oil in cast-iron pan
Sautee asparagus until you see brown blisters appear (don’t overcook it!)
Sautee shiitake until they are brown, but stop cooking before they become crispy
Add the chives or garlic for a quick 30 seconds or so
Add a bit of nice salt (to taste)
- Serve asparagus and shiitake together