Every spring, Europeans all over the continent go asparagus mad. I was fortunate enough to be in Vienna, Austria, one year during the season. Entire restaurant tasting menus were given over to dishes featuring this delicate vegetable, and I feasted on a dizzying array of asparagus-based dishes: soups, salads, pasta, main courses featuring asparagus drizzled with a delicate sauce and accompanied with potatoes and ham, to name a few.
Inspired by my culinary memories of springtime in Vienna, I have created my own asparagus-tasting menu of sorts here, although each dish can certainly be enjoyed on its own. Begin your spring feast with the mini quiches, small bites bursting with crunchy asparagus, tangy chevre and salty ham. Move on to the creamy asparagus soup, which, thanks to the use of Greek yogurt, is actually a very healthy version of the cream-soaked zuppes I enjoyed in Austria.
For the main course, the lemony asparagus and ricotta pasta feels rich but is delicate enough to let the asparagus shine. Finish your tasting menu with the refreshing shaved asparagus and sea bean salad. Sea beans are just what they sound like—sea vegetables. They’re a bit like a green bean, only quite salty, so go easy on the finishing salt.