Asparagus frittata is a tasty summer treat

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Asparagus has been harvested worldwide for thousands of years. Its use dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt, where it was harvested for its nutritional content and once believed medicinal properties. This vegetable was so highly prized in Ancient Rome, fleets of ships were sent out to collect asparagus for royal emperors. This practice is believed to be the story behind this vegetable’s nickname, “the aristocrat of vegetables.”

This spear-like vegetable comes from the perennial plant Asparagus officinalis and can be found in the state of Michigan growing wild or freshly harvested at your local farmer’s markets during the months of May and June.

There are over 300 different types of asparagus, but only 20 varieties are edible. These edible varieties fall into one of three categories: green, purple, and white asparagus. The most commonly consumed asparagus in the United States, green asparagus, grows at an average height of eight inches while purple asparagus thrives at only one to three inches.

While green and purple asparagus is naturally found, white asparagus is not. This unique variety is grown by covering the spears of conventional green asparagus with dirt or plastic coverings to cast away sunlight. This agricultural practice ultimately prevents photosynthesis and the formation of chlorophyll, resulting in this distinct variety’s pigment-less appearance.

While all varieties of asparagus have nutritional properties, their pigmentation greatly affects their nutritional content. Purple asparagus ranks as the most nutritious variety of asparagus due to its array of vitamins and minerals and its phytonutrient content, while white asparagus provides significantly less nutrients due to its lack of pigmentation. Traditional green asparagus remains in the middle and is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and folic acid. Just one cup of cooked asparagus is only 43 calories and provides 3g of fiber.

Asparagus Frittata
Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1/2 pound asparagus spears
2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
Extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
1. Steam asparagus spears for 2-3 minutes, then plunge in cold water and drain.
2. Cut asparagus into desired size and set aside.
3. Combine eggs, egg whites, and skim milk
4. Preheat broiler.
5. Coat a medium cast iron skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.
6. Add asparagus, immediately followed by egg mixture.
7. Cook frittata for five minutes or until edges begin to set.
8. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top.
9. Carefully transfer skillet to broiler and cook frittata under broiler for 2-3 minutes or until golden in color.
10. Serve hot and top with shredded Parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutritional Content (per Serving, without Parmesan Cheese): Calories 92, Fat 4g, Carbohydrate 4g, Fiber 1g, Protein 10g

Recipe Modified From: forgivingmartha.com/2011/06/avocado-chocolate-pudding.html


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