Asparagus, Greens & Fresh Herb Stir Fry

Nothing says more to me that, yes, spring is here, and no, it won’t be snowing again for a very long time, than the arrival of asparagus at the farmer’s markets. I hated asparagus as a kid. HATED! Much to the annoyance of my parents who started growing it in the backyard garden when I was very young. Happily I have grown out of my vitriol and each year, attempt to eat my weight in spears, making up for lost time.

While it is true, what one patron of the market said to me today, “Those things are good without all that messing with ’em,” I like to keep it interesting. I like steamed with saffron mayo and roasted and grilled with crunchy sea salt. But I love stir fry. Fast enough to throw together without much thought, and bitter-sweet-sour-salty, just perfect for mid-Spring dinners. As a farmer pointed out, you really do have to love chopping, which luckily, I do:

Asparagus, Greens & Fresh Herb Stir Fry
Serves 4
Canola Oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 T freshly grated ginger
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
a bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
on a dramatic bias
a couple big pinches of fine-grain sea salt
1 T minced garlic
2/3 cup toasted cashews, roughly chopped
a few handfuls of greens, like chard, broccoli rabe, kale, kale rabe, spinach, or similar quick-cooking greens
zest of a lime
juice of the same lime
2 T hoisin sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
2 T fresh herbs, chiffonade (like mint, parsley, basil, cilantro and/or dill)

Add a large splash of canola oil to a hot pan set over high heat. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, asparagus, and salt. Stir fry for about a minute, then add the garlic, cashews, and greens and stir-fry for another minute, or until the greens wilt. Stir in the lime zest and juice, hoisin & soy sauces and sesame oil. Cook for another 20 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in the herbs. Taste and add a more salt if needed.