Butter Braised Asparagus, Leeks and Peas with Salmon

Butter Braised Asparagus with Salmon

Late last week, I had the opportunity to visit an asparagus farm, to see how asparagus is grown, harvested and prepared for market. Did you know that Ontario grows most of Canada’s fresh asparagus? Fresh Ontario asparagus is also the first local vegetable of the year for those of us here in Ontario, so that makes it even more special.

Butter Braised Peas, Leeks and Asparagus is a delicious way to enjoy Spring asparagus. The asparagus is combined with peas and leeks and cooked in a butter, garlic and tarragon sauce. I served it with grilled salmon fillets, for a delicious and quick meal.

Over 90% of Ontario’s asparagus crop is a variety called Guelph Millennium, developed at the University of Guelph. It is adapted to colder climates and produces higher yields than other varieties. That means there’s always a plentiful crop of fresh and local asparagus available each Spring. I’m thankful for that! Even so, local Ontario asparagus is only available for a couple of months, so be sure to pick up and enjoy fresh Ontario asparagus now!

You can learn more about Ontario Asparagus and the Ontario Asparagus Farmers of Ontario on asparagus.on.ca.

Here are some photos from my day at the farm. You’ll have to look closely at the photo in the top left to spy the asparagus. Yes, asparagus fields are startlingly sparse! And if you snap an asparagus spear off in the field and eat it, it tastes surprisingly like peas.

Asparagus Farm

Special thanks to our host, Barrie Hill Farms in Barrie, Ontario and Foodies on Foot, for organizing the farm tour.

Butter Braised Asparagus, Leeks and Peas with Salmon

Before I left the farm, I had to pick up some (really) fresh asparagus from the market at Barrie Hill Farms. I also spotted some wild leeks (ramps), so I brought those home as well. That was the inspiration for this dish. If you are not able to find wild leeks, regular leeks will work in this dish, as well.


Salmon with Butter Braised Peas, Leeks and Asparagus

Butter Braised Asparagus, Peas and Leeks with Salmon
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
You can use regular or wild leeks in this dish. Instructions for both are included.
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 2

Yummly
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch asparagus, bottom 3-4 inches trimmed off
  • Fresh or frozen large peas
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) butter
  • 1 leek (or a bunch of wild leeks/ramps)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon leaves (or dried thyme leaves, if you don't like tarragon)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Splash of white wine, if you like
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 fillets of salmon, cooked as you like (grilled, pan-fried or roasted in the oven)
Instructions
  1. If using regular leeks, prepare leeks by taking a 3-inch slice of the white part of the leek. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice into thin slices, to total about 1/3 cup. Rinse well and set aside. Roughly chop a bit of the top green from the leek and set aside. If using wild leeks, cut thin slices from the white bulb end to total 1/3 cup. Roughly chop the top leaves and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 up butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add white part of leeks and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add asparagus and peas, tarragon and chicken stock. Reduce heat to low, cover pan (with lid or if your pan doesn't have a lid, place a baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil overtop) and simmer for 6-7 minutes. Remove lid. Add lemon juice and a splash of wine, if using. Scatter chopped leek leaves overtop and stir in. Season well with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until asparagus and peas are just tender and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Meanwhile, cook salmon in a grill, in a grill pan on the stove-top or roast for 12-15 minutes in a 400F. oven.
  4. Remove to a serving dish. Top with grilled, roasted or pan-fried salmon.
 

Cook’s Notes

I didn’t include cooking instructions for the salmon. I grilled mine quickly on the BBQ. You could also use a grill pan on the stove-top or place in a baking pan and cook in a 400F. oven for 12-15 minutes.

Obviously, you can just make the braised greens as a side or main dish for any meal or substitute any meat, poultry or seafood.

If you don’t like tarragon, you can substitute dried thyme leaves.

YummlyButter Braised Asparagus, Leeks and Peas with Salmon

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18 Comments

  • A beautiful dish and I just love the combination of asparagus and leeks. The fields are quite a shock the first time you see them, aren’t they? lol It reminds me of the first time I went to Hawaii expecting to see pineapple trees and we drove for miles looking for them and suddenly realized that we had been passing by acres and acres of low lying shrubs with ummm….. pineapples! Not quite what I expected!
    Thanks for a great recipe, Jennifer :)

    • Thanks Robyn and so true. When the wagon stopped in the field, I wondered why we were stopping because there was nothing there. Then I looked closer and sure enough, there was the asparagus :)

    • Thanks Sue! I never pass up a chance to go to see where our food is grown. It’s always so inspiring. Thank heavens for farmers!!

  • How fun to see how asparagus is grown! I visited a “white asparagus” farm in Germany. I kept looking for the asparagus but couldn’t see it – because it grows under the ground! Love this beautiful dinner. It has my name written all over it!

    • Thanks Tricia. I think they cut away the foliage in the Spring on the farm. Easier to harvest, I guess.

  • You had me at butter braised, Jennifer! This dish looks absolutely PERFECT! I love salmon with asparagus, but the addition of peas and leeks sounds amazing… plus the butter of course! ;) Such a fabulous spring/summer dinner! Cheers, friend!

  • That is SO extremely cool that you got to visit an asparagus farm! Does asparagus prefer northern climates? I know they grow a bunch in Michigan as well… probably a similar climate to Ontario. Anyway your dish looks phenomenal and a great way to feature those beautiful veggies :)

    • Thanks Sarah. Definitely the variety of asparagus that they grow here prefers a colder climate (strain was developed here for our climate) and yes, Ontario’s climate is very similar to Michigan. That said, they did mention that California has almost gone out of growing asparagus, due to the water issues (I guess asparagus is a water-intensive crop). Apparently Washington state is starting to become a prominent producer now.

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