In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring: Local Asparagus

Dairy-Free Cream of Asparagus Soup

This soup, though dairy-free, is creamy and luscious, just as it would be with use of heavy cream. It’s the potato that brings a creamy factor; it becomes silky smooth when pureed with the other vegetables. Inspired by William-Sonoma. Serves about 4.

Dairy-free Cream of Asparagus Soup IMG_9496_E_smIngredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as California Arbosana
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh local asparagus, trimmed, lightly peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, tips reserved
  • 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped chives

Directions: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus stalks and potato and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lemon juice and reserved asparagus tips and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

Using either an immersion blender or other blender, puree the soup until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Return to the pot and reheat over low heat. Serve, garnished with asparagus tips and chives.

Lemony Asparagus and Shrimp Skewers

Skewer these up for a light appetizer and serve with a white wine. They grill up in just minutes. Serve at least two per person.

Lemony Asparagus and Shrimp Skewers IMG_9511_E_smWhat you need:

  • About 1/2 lb. local asparagus, ends trimmed and stalks cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
  • Large shrimp or prawns, about 14 to 16, or at least two per guest
  • Small to medium length wooden skewers
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as California Arbosana, plus more for coating grill pan
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Onto each skewer, thread on a piece of asparagus, a shrimp and then finish with another piece of asparagus. Set aside.

Zest one lemon to yield about 2 teaspoons zest. Save zested lemon for another day.

In a small saucepan, combine the olive oil and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook for one minute. Add wine; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with a bit of olive oil then lay on the skewers. Grill for about 3 minutes then flip the skewers. Brush with roughly half of the olive oil mixture and cook, about 3 minutes, more or until the shrimp are cooked through and there are nice grill marks.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining lemon into slices and lay them out in a single layer on a serving dish.

When the skewers are cooked, lay them on top of the lemon slices. Drizzle the dish with the remaining olive oil mixture, garnish with additional chives and a light sprinkling of salt. Serve.

 

Roasted Asparagus and Vegetable Medley

This beautiful assortment of vegetables rocks amazing flavor and color. The recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman, who notes the medley would be delicious pureed into a soup too. Add or remove any veggies you like. Serves 6 to 8.

Roasted Asparagus and Vegetable Medely IMG_9478_E2_smIngredients:

  • 1 bunch local asparagus, ends trimmed, stalks sliced into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 whole red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large chunks
  • 8 ounces, weight, mushrooms (any kind), quartered or halved, depending on size
  • 1 whole medium eggplant, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 a medium head of broccoli or cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/2 a whole butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs and spices, such as thyme, rosemary, paprika, garlic, celery salt, salt, red or white pepper
  • 1/3 cup Sigona’s Garlic Olive Oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine all the prepped veggies in a large bowl. Drizzle in the garlic olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice. Toss to coat.

Arrange on two baking sheets, spreading the veggies out to give them room. Roast for 25 minutes, shaking the pans at least twice during that time. If needed, roast for an additional 5 minutes, until veggies are nicely roasted.

Serve immediately or keep in the fridge until serving time.

 

Fresh Asparagus, Simply Done

Skillet asparagus IMG_3239_E_smWhat You Need:

  • 1 bunch locally grown asparagus, ends trimmed and discarded
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as California Arbosana
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Grilled Asparagus: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill on both sides until just cooked through (about medium-done) and brown char/grill marks appear, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Boiled Asparagus: In a large skillet, bring about 2 inches of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus to the pot in one layer and cook until tender-crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the spears. Drain. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Skillet Asparagus: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, lay asparagus in the skillet and gently shake to coat all stalks evenly in oil. Cover and cook about 5 to 8 minutes, gently shaking skillet from time to time so make sure all sides of the stalks cook evenly. Asparagus should be bright green and crisp, yet tender, when done. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Steamed Asparagus: Place the asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam about 3 minutes or until the spears are bright green and tender, yet crisp. Transfer to a serving platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

 

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