I normally try to avoid getting fanatically seasonal when it comes to ingredients, but when good asparagus starts to roll around sometime during the middle of spring, I can’t help myself. I’m sure if you live close by a wonderful farmers’ market, the myth of seasonality isn’t a myth, and getting the freshest ingredients as they come into season is as probably as transcendent as it sounds. When you live out in the boondocks of Long Island, and Stop and Shop is your only option for produce, then you make do with what looks merely edible and cook it to the best of your ability. Every now and then though, the food gods descend and bestow us with seasonal goodness, as was the case when I found really good asparagus in the sterile confines of the local supermarket recently.
And thus a dish was born, more or less of fresh asparagus and of leftovers. We had some pungent slices of an Easter leg of lamb sitting in the fridge and potatoes and red onions waiting to be used. All combined into a hash, which is a perfect vehicle for leftover proteins. It was a dish that evoked everything good about spring. Now if I could rid myself of those allergies…
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 russet potatoes, diced.
½ pound of asparagus sliced crosswise into ¼ inch pieces
1 medium red onion, diced
½ pound of lamb, already cooked, cut into ½ inch pieces (really any leftover meat would work here, i.e. duck, beef, venison, etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil and potatoes. Cook until they soften and begin to caramelize, 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat to medium low and add the asparagus and the red onion. Cook until they both begin to soften, 7-10 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until it is thoroughly heated through. Season to taste. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
by Tom Volk