Recipes: Asparagus in the Short Spring


Image: Peter Miller

This will be a short asparagus season. The warm days have not come. The stalks are thick but not as plentiful. In a good season, they can be picked twice a day, knowing more will be up by the warm afternoon. Still, the delays will not lengthen the season, which will still wind down in Walla Walla, and Richland, by the start of June.

Here is a fine, new recipe for asparagus. Take advantage!

Do your best to buy only the fresh cut asparagus. Trim the ends, then with a potato peeler, trim the end of the stalk, about two inches. Soak the stalks in cold water, for 5-10 minutes only. It will refresh them and they will cook more quickly.

Heat two inches of cold water in a saute pan. When it boils add plenty of salt and the asparagus. And a lid. After two minutes or so, (you will just smell them), lift the stalks out onto first a strainer, then onto a plate with a paper towel. Let the stalks cool for two minutes.

Then, cut off the tips, setting them aside, and slice the stalk, into two-inch pieces, on a slight diagonal. Put the pieces into a small mixing bowl with salt, fresh pepper, lemon juice, a good teaspoon of horseradish, some chopped chives, basil, and cilantro. Mix gently and then add some white wine vinegar and olive oil. Mix gently again. Taste for salt and add if need be.

Fold in 1/3 pound of the best Greek feta you can find. The asparagus should still be a little warm, and that will soften the feta. Add a little lemon juice. On a plate with fresh arugula (it is just now in the market ), lay the asparagus mix on top. in a soft mound. Do not wash the bowl.  Add a little olive oil to the empty bowl and toss the tips into it, with some salt and perhaps chopped chives and lay that on top of the asparagus mix. 

It is a perfect appetizer, or a lunch, or a small plate to ally with fish or chicken. It is wonderful now, but it will not be near as good in the middle of summer. This is its time, spring.

You could make this dish with Greek yogurt. I prefer the feta with the asparagus, it crumbles more than coats. If there is any left over, it is a perfect light lunch.

Peter Miller
Peter Miller
Peter Miller runs the Peter Miller Design Bookshop, in Pioneer Square, in the alley between First Avenue and Alaska Way. He is there, every day. He has written three books, Lunch at the Shop, Five Ways to Cook, and How to Wash the Dishes. A fourth book, Shopkeeping, A Manual, will be published in Spring 2024, by Princeton Architectural Press.


  1. Thank you! I have made this once and will be making it again this weekend sans horseradish! I like it but the one year old would be startled!


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