Flavor NC: Currituck Aparagus

By on January 7, 2016

Each month we take a look at local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we highlight an episode from season 4 and a trip to The Farm Market by United Turf in Powell’s Point, then on to Dragonfly Inn located in Corolla for some seasonally-inspired dishes by Island Thyme Cooking Company.

“It’s tall, it’s green and it can grow up to eight inches in one day. And, a field of it is one of the strangest sights you’ll see on a farm. It’s asparagus,” said Lisa. In this episode she visits with Bud Brown with United Turf.  A few years ago, United Turf decided to branch out and add 24 acres of vegetables to the farm. This gave the employees additional work and diversified the farm. One of the crops they grow that everyone looks forward to is asparagus.  The vegetable has an extremely short growing season and high demand.

Brown offers Lisa a few tips for home gardeners that want to plant their own asparagus. These tips include purchasing good asparagus crowns, making sure they’re male plants about one to two years old. Also, get a soil sample to make sure the soil is good for growing asparagus.  Finally, and this is the hard part, wait until the third growing season to eat what you harvest.

If you would just rather buy your asparagus at the market to enjoy, the best way to store it is standing up in the refrigerator in an inch of water, or with a wet paper towel wrapped around the ends.

After Lisa’s visit with Brown, she travels to Dragonfly Inn in Corolla to work with Chef Evan Hayes of Island Thyme Cooking Company on few recipes featuring asparagus. Below is his recipe for Currituck Asparagus Soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ sweet onion
  • 1 ½ bunches asparagus, chopped, set aside tips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ bulb fennel
  • 1c white wine
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Crab Garnish

  • Reserved asparagus tips
  • 2 ears of corn, cut from cob
  • ½ pound jumbo lump blue crab
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ c Crème Fraiche

In large pan, sauté onion, garlic and fennel. In a separate bowl, combine wine and honey until honey is dissolved completely, add to onion, garlic and fennel mixture to deglaze pan. Pour sauté into medium stockpot. Add chicken stock, and reduce by half over medium-high heat. Add cream and bring back to a slow boil and season base to taste. Add asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. With ladle, add equal parts soup, cream cheese, spinach to blender. Strain to remove any woody stalk pieces. Serve into soup bowl and top with crab meat garnish.

 

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