Earth Day Recipe
Friday April 22nd is a very auspicious day this year. On that day people will celebrate or observe for many different reasons. It is Earth Day, Easter Friday (or Good Friday) for Christians, Eastern Orthodox Friday (unusually, the Christian and Eastern Orthodox Easter periods co-incide this year), and is part of the Jewish Passover period.
Last year (2010) Earth Day celebrated its 40th year (see article here http://www.justsaygo.com/archives/earth-day-turns-40 ) and its message and meaning are still just as important now. This year, many groups and organizations are focusing on sustainable food sources. More and more, people are thinking about where their food comes from, and local markets are gaining in popularity. Depending on which part of the country you live in, perhaps the local farmers’ market has already opened for the season (ours is set to open on May 7th).
Chefs around the country are promoting Earth Dinners, a series celebrating local, seasonal and organic foods (http://chefscollaborative.org/events/earth-dinners/2011-earth-dinner-participants/ ).
Thinking seasonal, a vegetable that’s at its peak now is Asparagus. Asparagus is related to onions, garlic and other members of the lily family and hails originally from the Mediterranean. This popular vegetable has been used since ancient times in many parts of the world. Its name is likely derived from the Persian word “asparag”, meaning “sprout”. The Greek word “aspharagos” means “long as one’s throat”, and in 18th-century England it was known as “sparrow grass”.
Besides being a culinary delight, asparagus is very nutritious—high in vitamins and minerals—and low in calories.
Here’s a lovely recipe for a baked asparagus frittata. Enjoy it for Earth Day, or for a tasty dish for Easter brunch.
ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOM, AND GRUYERE CASSEROLE (Serves 4-6)
1 T olive oil
10 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms*
1 bunch fresh asparagus (ca 1 pound), washed and cut cross-wise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 small leek, washed and thinly sliced (white part only)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 large eggs
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups half and half (half milk, half cream)
1 ½ t Dijon mustard
1 ½ cups Gruyere** cheese, shredded
½ cup slivered almonds
*Note, you can easily substitute other types of mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake, white button, or a mix of mushrooms.
**Goat cheese is also delicious, instead of Gruyere.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Spray a shallow 9×9 glass or ceramic baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in frying pan on medium. Add mushrooms and cook 2-3 minutes. Add asparagus and leek and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and spread over bottom of baking dish.
3. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the mushroom mixture.
4. In a small bowl, mix almonds and the remaining ½ cup of cheese.
5. In another bowl, whisk eggs, half and half, salt and pepper, mustard.
5. Pour egg mixture over the mushroom-cheese mixture.
6. Sprinkle almond mixture on top.
7. Bake 20-25 minutes, until mixture is set. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with crusty French bread, followed by a fruit salad. Delicious!
Below, a picture of asparagus and mushrooms as a separate dish