“I’m so glad to see you back!” the woman on the bike told the vendors as she rolled up to their tables on the first day of the Daley Plaza Farmers Market.
I know how she feels. I had to be there, too. It just does something to your soul to be back out among the produce, flowers, plants and foodstuffs at the market.
My only quibble: there sure is a lot of space given over to baked goods on Daley Plaza. I’m not saying it didn’t look like tasty fare, just that there was an awful lot of it.
OK, back to my purchases. Among them were some Michigan asparagus and basil, because in the back of my mind I knew I had some leftover “pasta” sauce I wanted to put to use.
Only, since I follow a low-carb diet, I don’t eat pasta. But that doesn’t stop me from making the sauce. I just find other things to put it on top of.
I’m going to use this recipe I adapted a bit from Epicurious as my base this time. The asparagus gets chopped up — sort of rigatoni size — and that’ll make it a good candidate to top with the meaty leftover sauce. (I’m skipping the frozen peas the original recipe included. If you want to add them in, use ¾ pound shelled fresh peas or a 10-ounce package thawed frozen peas.
The point of sealing the pan with foil is to make it airtight so the asparagus will cook thoroughly. I have a great pan with a glass lid that will work in this instance. If you have something similar, you can skip that step, too.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why I didn’t make it the day I bought the asparagus, I had a good excuse: had to go out dancing.
ASPARAGUS AND BASIL
MAKES 6 SERVINGS
¼ cup finely chopped shallots (about 2)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Handful of torn basil leaves (about ¾ cup)
Cook shallots in butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes.
Stir in asparagus, sea salt and pepper, then seal skillet with foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in basil and more sea salt to taste, if desired.