The Suitcase Lady


April 27, 2021, 8:31 pm

“This is delicious,” my husband said the other night at dinner. I had made hot asparagus and cheese open-face sandwiches to celebrate the first asparagus of the season. The appearance of asparagus and the first Florida strawberries in our grocery store is a sure sign that another winter has been survived.

These items may not have been grown in our own backyard, but they are from our own country. We all know that fresh produce can be bought year round in our supermarkets. It’s always spring or summer somewhere on our globe, and tons of veggies and fruits are constantly flying around. But, somehow, blueberries from Peru or raspberries from Chile aren’t the same as produce from our home place on the planet.

We’ll be indulging in asparagus every week now in April and May. The asparagus feasts will resume in summer when the local crops come in. We would like to grow our own, but our vegetable growing skills preclude that option.

Fortunately for us, our gardening friends and neighbors share their bounty. Farmer Dennis always gives us asparagus from his big backyard vegetable plot. And last year there was a bonus. Somewhere on his many acres of land, he discovered a patch of wild asparagus. He did what is an extremely “in” thing now, he became a forager.

I may not be a gardener, but I am a cook. When he arrived with his gift of found asparagus, I did not recoil. Visually, these spears were a motley crew; some were big and fat, others super skinny or bent and curved. But all were tender and delicious with a minimum of cooking time. I’m hoping the wild asparagus patch shows up again this year.

If you are an asparagus lover, too, here are my simple directions for making the open-face sandwich. It is so quick and easy to make, I hesitate to call it a recipe.

Put two slices of good whole wheat bread per person on a cookie sheet. I use Brownberry Ovens original recipe whole wheat and no pre-toasting is required. If your bread is softer, toast it slightly in the oven.

Snap off the ends of the asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces and cook or steam for a few minutes until just tender. You need enough asparagus to cover each piece of bread and heap it up a bit.

Butter the bread, drain the asparagus and immediately pile it onto the bread slices. Top each with a slice of cheese…use your favorite. We like sharp cheddar, Swiss,  Gouda, or Provolone. We also sprinkle a dash of Cajun seasoning on top. If you don’t want the zip, use paprika.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes or broil until the cheese melts.

That’s it. Get out a knife and fork and enjoy. It’s springtime on a plate.

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