Here’s our first recipe of the season from writer Deborah DeBord, celebrating two jewels of spring—asparagus and green garlic. Bon appetit!  — Mi Ae

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Nutty Asparagus and Garlic Scapes for Your Salad

When asparagus is at its pencil thinnest and the garlic scapes first appear, they love to get together with a nut and top your spring greens with joy. (For the uninitiated, garlic scapes—sometimes also called green garlic or whistles—are the long, curly shoots bearing immature flower clusters that form on hardneck garlic plants in early summer. Not as pungent as bulb garlic but still bearing an unmistakable flavor and aroma, green garlic is a fleeting treat at this time of the year, often for only a few weeks. —M.)

Makes 4 to 6 portions

13 thin-thin tender asparagus spears
Lengths of garlic scapes to equal about half the length of the asparagus
Good-tasting, lighter-weight extra-virgin olive oil for spritzing
Interesting salt to taste (smoked, Himalayan, pink Asian, Mayan)
¼ cup toasted almond slivers

  1. New, young asparagus should be flexible. The older it is, the tougher and more brittle it gets. Cut the spears diagonally into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Garlic scapes are less predictable in size from the field. They shoot up from the garlic bulb, looking for the sun.  They are harvested before they begin to sap the bulb of energy and flavor. At their youngest, they are mild and delicious. You are looking for the tenderest section between the two ends to equal one-half the original length of the asparagus. Also slice them diagonally to match the asparagus. Save the rest of the scape parts for pesto and other uses.
  3. Preheat the broiler to medium-high. Spread the asparagus and garlic in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Finely spritz with oil and then salt to taste. (Note: If you do not have one of those fabulous air-pump atomizers for oils and vinegars, no worries. Lightly toss the veg with a bit of oil in a bowl. Then ask for the pump on your next birthday.)
  4. Broil the veg for 5 minutes, carefully watching. Sprinkle the almonds onto the sheet for the last 10 seconds before pulling them out. Nuts burn so very quickly that we always toast them separately ahead of time.
  5. Toss everything together and use at room temperature over spring greens, salads, and raw vegetables.

Cook’s Tips and Tricks: In order to spritz your oil evenly from edge to edge of your baking sheet, place the sheet loaded with veg on the open door of your dishwasher. Spray away; afterward, when you shut the dishwasher for the load, all the feral drops of oil will wash off, leaving countertops clean.

— From Picked at the Peak, Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.

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