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The Best Way to Use the Last of Your Asparagus

Maggie Borden

June 14, 2017

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Food waste has a way of sneaking up on even the savviest preservation pros. You can be composting, pickling, puréeing, and freezing, and still find yourself with a loaf of bread that's gone stale before you’ve had three slices. Thankfully, a Pullman-past-its-prime can easily become craveable croutons, as in this recipe for a bread salad from JBF Award winner and Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change alum Naomi Pomeroy.

This spin on the traditional panzanella is a staple of the Portland chef's personal repertoire: "I love bread salad because it’s not quite a starch and not quite a salad, and because it’s a perfect accompaniment to almost any protein," she notes her cookbook Taste & Technique, the 2017 JBF Book Award winner for Photography. In her version, Pomeroy highlights springtime asparagus, which finishes its season at the end of June. She pairs its raw vegetal flavor with tart pickled rhubarb and peppery arugula to brighten up the butter-basted and toasted bread cubes.

Top this salad with a simple vinaigrette and some shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and you’ve got a fresh, vibrant, and waste-reducing side to satisfy both your conscience and your appetite. Get the recipe.

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Maggie Borden is associate editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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Rhubarb