CIA Recipe: Stalking a Fresh Spring Salad with Fresh Asparagus

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By The Culinary Institute of America

One of the earliest vegetables to appear each spring is asparagus. In today’s marketplace it is available almost year-round, but truly tender and delicious asparagus is only found in the spring and preferably grown locally. Sold by size, based on the thickness of the stalk, this versatile vegetable can range from colossal or jumbo to standard to small or pencil.

“Look for uniformity in size when you buy a bunch to ensure uniform cooking times,” says CIA Chef Fred Brash. “You also want tight closed tips with nothing open or seeding, and you’ll want to avoid shriveling stalks, or excessive woodiness at the base.”

Asparagus comes in three varieties: green, white, and purple. Green is the most popular in this country. White has always been preferred primarily in Europe and is gaining ground in the United States. Purple is more rare and is sometimes only found at farm stands. A member of the lily family, which also includes leeks and garlic, asparagus is highly nutritious and delicious in many preparations. Some cooks like to peel it, but generally that is only needed with thicker stalks.

Standard-size asparagus works best for the following fresh asparagus recipe adapted from The Culinary Institute of America Vegetables cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman, 2007), available for purchase at bookstores nationwide or at www.ciaprochef.com/fbi/books/vegetables.html.

Here’s a recipe for Chilled Asparagus with Mustard Herb Vinaigrette.

 

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The Culinary Institute of America is the World's Premier Culinary College. The CIA's main campus in Hyde Park, NY is home to four restaurants. The college offers associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts and bachelor's degrees in culinary arts management, baking and pastry arts management, and culinary science. Programs for food enthusiasts ranging from one to five days are offered throughout the year.

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