About two weeks back I made a quick stop at the Fountain Farmer’s Market for some blueberries. I almost didn’t go at all, but boy am I glad I did.  I stopped by the Fruitwood Farms stand, which has been my regular supplier of asparagus all season long. In fact the woman who runs the stand even told me she looks forward to me stopping by because I always walk away with at least two bundles.  I was a little asparagus’d out for the season, but when I stopped by and she told me that the remaining batches on the table were the last of the season, I couldn’t help myself!

Although I love asparagus as a veggie side, I knew that I couldn’t let the last remaining produce of the season go to waste, so I cooked up two of my favorite asparagus dishes.

Orzo Asparagus Toss

1 (16 oz.) package of orzo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups of asparagus spears, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 red bell peppber, cored and cut into strips
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 cup tomato chunks
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese, optional

Cook orzo according to directions on package. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil and satue the asparagus, red pepper, onion, garlic, and tomato until all are tende. Add cooked orzo and toss together. If desired, add the Romano cheese.

Orzo Asparagus Toss

Orzo Asparagus Toss

This is a wonderful healthy and simple meal to make. It goes great as a full meal if you are looking for something light, or as a side dish to chicken or another meat of your choosing. I used colored orzo to bring a bit of brightness to the dish. Orzo is one of my favorite pastas- and a comfort food of mine! I used fresh tomato instead of canned and I would probably add a bit more next time. The dish itself is a little bland, so I recommend using the cheese, and maybe even (a little) salt.

Another dish I made was from an article a while back in the Philadelphia Inquirer called Asparagus: Keeping a Spring Fling Fresh, which mentioned a few different ways to utilize the veggie. I selected the Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesean, which I’ve tried before. It is a very intense and laborous routine, and I do not recommend attempting it while you are trying to share the stove with someone. Although it took a few attempts to perfect it last night, I ended up finishing it to near perfection. It’s very delicious and can probably be used for brunch.

Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Parmesean

2 bunches medium-thick asparagus (about 40 spears)
8 eggs
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cut off the bottoms of the asparagus spears. Break the eggs into 8 individual containers, such as teacups, prep bowls, or paper cups.

Prepare the poaching liquid for the eggs by bringing water, plus the vinegar and 4 pinches of salt, to a boil in a large, straight-walled, low-sided pan over medium heat.

To cook the asparagus, bring salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, and cook it until it is as tender as you like it (3 to 4 minutes for crisp-tender). Remove the cooked asparagus from the water with tongs, and set it aside while you make the sauce.

I halved most of this recipe except for the parsley butter sauce. I used one bunch of asparagus and two eggs and used the parmesean cheese to my liking. I kept the sauce recipe the same and just used a little less. It is really delicious and makes the whole recipe worth while- so don’t skimp on it!

I think that I’ve finally had my fair filling of asparagus for the season now. Although I certainly won’t turn it down at a party or a restaurant, I’m taking a long, long break from cooking with it.  Until next season!