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Diggin' It

How to grow and cook asparagus

A gardener and a chef team up with advice on growing and cooking asparagus.

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I (Linda Weiss the chef) am always trying to think of different ways to cook and serve vegetables. Since early petite peas and pencil-thin asparagus are two vegetables that I really like, and they pop up about the same time in the spring, this recipe is a keeper for me.

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The capers give the peas and asparagus extra flavor, and the lemon burst is refreshing. You can serve this recipe with the most elegant meal or you can serve it with rice for a vegetarian luncheon or supper.

You can even make it a salad by adding your favorite dressing or a little mayonnaise to moisten it. Then serve it on Boston or Bibb lettuce. Enjoy.

1 pound petite English peas
1/2 pound of thin spring asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons capers, drained
1 lemon, juiced

Cook the peas in a small amount of salted water until peas are very tender.

Drain the peas. Snap the asparagus at the woody stem end and even off the ends with a knife. Cut into 2-inch pieces. Place in salted boiling water for about a minute or until tender. Remove to an ice bath and then drain.

In a skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil. Let the butter start to sizzle and then put in the capers. Stir the capers and cook until they start to get brown. This will give them texture. Add the juice of the lemon and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the drained peas and asparagus and stir to mix well. Serve hot with slices of fresh lemon on top. Serves 6.

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Linda Weiss and Anne Moore, who will blog at Diggin' It about food and gardening, are friends who met while Linda was the food editor and Anne was the garden editor for South Carolina Homes & Gardens magazine. They now write articles for the ETV GardenSMART television show website, where Anne is the horticulture editor, gardening consultant, and e-newsletter editor. Anne has written for magazines and newspapers. She is a member of and a recipient of a Silver Award for magazine writing from the Garden Writers Association.

Linda is a personal chef. She attended Le Cordon Bleu of Paris’ catering program. She has appeared as a guest chef on numerous television shows, has been a culinary educator for 10 years, and a food writer for a number of magazines. She is a professional member of The James Beard Foundation and the Southern Foodways Alliance. She has written a cookbook, "Memories From Home, Cooking with Family and Friends."

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