The farmers market season is arguably the best time of year (other than Christmas, of course). Everything is fresh and in perfect cooking condition. All the flavors of the season are at their best. You’ll never get asparagus in the winter that’s as good as in the summer. Sames goes for berries, summer squash and watermelon. It’s the perfect time to indulge in all the colorful options because the season never seems to last long enough. Too bad because I wouldn’t mind having summer fresh berries year round! One of my personal favorites that’s available all the way at the beginning of spring into summer and fall is asparagus.
Asparagus is one of those vegetables that you never would have touched as a kid and then wonder what your problem was when you become an adult. It’s one of the quintessential spring and summer veggies. It adds a bright green color to the plate and it cooks up SUPER quick. Blanch it in water for a minute or so or pop it on the grill for as much time. It’s the perfect hot weather veggie because you really don’t want to cook it long, just enough to remove the rawness and soften the bite. What makes asparagus even better? Butter and cheese! That makes everything better though so no surprise there.
This recipe for Parmesan Roasted Asparagus is affordable, it’s quick and it’s super tasty. Serve it alongside a frittata for brunch or with a nice steak for dinner. That’s actually how I served it. The weekend I wrote this recipe was my first weekend at the farmers market. It was still spring, and for us the beginning of spring because winter stuck around through April. There were very few options, literally two: asparagus and rhubarb. Never having cooked with rhubarb before and not wanting to botch my first farmer’s market challenge, I went with asparagus. But how do you make asparagus interesting? You slather it in butter and melt a bunch of cheese on top, that’s how! Pair it with a simple grilled steak finished with a small tab of butter at the end and you’re good to go. It’s a hearty yet lighter dinner perfect for the warmer months.
So now that I’ve gone on about asparagus and lightly mentioned this farmer’s market challenge, let me refresh your memory. Earlier in spring, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to cook seasonally and support local businesses while I was at it. We have a great farmers market in my town and I always felt that markets had the best the season has to offer. Since I love giving myself challenges when my to-do list is already a thousand miles long, I decided that every week (or almost every week), I would go to the market and write a recipe inspired by the ingredients I bought. Because most of May only had asparagus and rhubarb, those plans were derailed a bit and I haven’t written as many recipes as I would have liked. That’s why this series started so late in the season. Well, that and the few curveballs life has thrown my way lately. Better late than never though, right? So until the farmer’s market closes later this fall, I’ll continue to stop by the local market whenever I can and write recipes completely inspired by the ingredients I pick up. The next one I share is a double doozy to make up for the lack of market recipes. There are two recipes involved because I was able to grab a lot more ingredients since it was from a visit in June.
Do you visit your local farmer’s market every week or are you a strict grocery store shopper? I completely understand both so there’s no judgement for your answer, tell me in the comments below. Also, let me know if you have any ingredient requests! I love a good challenge so if you’d like to see me use a specific ingredient that can be found at the farmers market, tell me in the comments and if I can find it, I’ll grab it and give it a shot.
Parmesan Roasted Asparagus
1 bunch Asparagus, ends trimmed
2 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tbsp. Butter, cut into four pieces
½ cup Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper
1 - Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prep a baking sheet with tin foil.
2 - Place the asparagus on the baking sheet in one even layer. Drizzle with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper. Place the four tabs of butter randomly over the asparagus. I did a zig zag pattern so that the butter didn’t pool on one side.
3 - Bake the asparagus for 5-6 minutes until the butter is melted. Sprinkle the cheese over the asparagus. Bake another 2-3 minutes until melted. Serve!