It actually feels like spring today and this recipe is perfect for warmer weather,
First, spring signals asparagus season.
Asparagus is very high in vitamin K (almost all you need for the day); and is good source of potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin.
When buying asparagus, the first signs of spoilage can be found at the tips. If the tips are browning, slimy or even opening, don’t buy it. Fresh asparagus have tightly closed tips. Also, look at the ends and avoid stems that are limp, or ridged, as ridged stems is a sign the sugar is converting into carbohydrates and the stalks will be tough and woody.
Spears can range in size from fat to thin, but it’s best to pick spears that are as uniform as possible in one bunch so they cook evenly. I usually opt for thinner asparagus because it’s a sign the plant was harvested earlier and is potentially tenderer. However, bigger is better when you’re wrapping the asparagus in bacon or prosciutto because it’s easier to handle.
Also, it depends on the thickness of the stalks, but a pound has roughly 20-26 asparagus, so if you are wrapping it that will help you factor in how much meat you need, too.
The best way to store asparagus, is to slice off the bottoms and place the stalks in a glass with 1-inch of water. Loosely cover with a plastic bag and refrigerate.
Rice Noodles with Asparagus, Chicken and Shiitake Mushrooms
3 ounces rice noodles
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 small yellow onion
2 cups sliced asparagus (about ¾ a pound)
1 cup fresh, sliced shiitake mushrooms (can substitute to large Portobello mushrooms if you can’t find fresh shiitakes)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cups chopped, rotisserie chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil
½ teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
Note: the pepper is strong in this dish, if you’re serving it to small children, you might want to cut the pepper in half.
Rice noodles only take about 3 minutes to cook, so this dish comes together quickly
Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt the water.
Make the sauce by whisking together all sauce ingredients and set aside.
Slice the tough ends off asparagus and discard. Then cut the remaining asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
Slice onion and set aside.
Remove stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice the tender mushroom heads. Note, the stems are tough but can be reserved for making stock as the stems are tough but add rich flavor to stock or soup.
In a large skillet, large enough that you will be able to add the rice noodles later, heat 1 teaspoon canola oil. When hot, add onion and cook 3 minutes. Then add asparagus and mushrooms and cook 7 minutes. In the last minute, add 1 teaspoon soy sauce and chicken.
Cook rice noodles according to directions on package. After straining the water off, add it to the pan with the vegetables and chicken. Add the sauce and toss until everything is thoroughly coated and then serve