Eating Local

By living in Essex County, we are so lucky to have colourful, fresh produce right in our backyards. Eating foods from local growers not only keeps our farms and greenhouses thriving, it is affordable and can benefit our health.

Aside from cost, the taste of local produce can’t be beat. This month, we’re finally starting to see roadside fruit and vegetable stands open up. We can start to enjoy many fresh fruits and vegetables we’ve been waiting for all winter. Check out Grown Right Here and Buy Local to find local farms and roadside stands near you.  

With asparagus in season for only a short period of time, in May and June, it’s time to start using this lovely vegetable in your dishes! Here is an easy recipe from Chatelaine Online that will have local asparagus on your table in no time.

Caramelized-onion tart with asparagus

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 12 Servings

• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rounds
• 1 tsp granulated sugar
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 397 g pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
• 1 egg
• 1/2 bunch asparagus, about 250 g, trimmed and sliced in half lengt
• 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
• 1 cup grated fontina or mozzarella cheese Instructions

1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp oil, then onion. Sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel coloured, about 12 min. Stir in vinegar.

2. Position oven rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 14×10-in. rectangle. Pastry will be thin, and edges will be uneven. Transfer to lined baking sheet. Beat egg with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl. Lightly brush pastry with egg wash. Set aside.

3. Drizzle asparagus with remaining oil and sprinkle with remaining salt. Season with fresh pepper. Toss to coat.

4. Scatter caramelized onion and olives over pastry. Sprinkle with 1/2 of cheese. Arrange asparagus spears in 2 parallel rows on cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in lower third of oven until pastry has puffed up and cheese is melted, 20 to 25 min. Cut into bite-sized rectangles and serve immediately.