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At the Market: 5 Unexpected Asparagus Dishes

With spring comes new beginnings and fresh crops, and every year I jump at the chance to celebrate the season’s new happy ingredients that hit the farmer’s markets and grocery stores. I’m especially excited for the slender green spears of asparagus that mark the arrival of spring. It’s a welcome change from the meat-and-potato meals that were the star of winter, so can you really blame me for being giddy about the pearly stalks that line the shelves like an expansive green lawn? As markets burst with fresh ingredients, signaling a sort of wake-up call from winter’s slumber, bring home a haul of this green beauty to cook up in your kitchen.

Though there’s certainly something uncomplicated and desirable about simply roasting asparagus until charred and tender, here are some new, unexpected ways to make asparagus really shine at your next meal:

1. Salmon en Croute (pictured above)

Salmon, asparagus puree and asparagus spears become moist and tender when enrobed in puff pastry and baked into an elegant main.

2. Bird’s Nest Pie

Thin ribbons of asparagus are tossed and tangled with cheese until resembling a bird’s nest on top of this pie. To complete the effect, top with quail eggs and broil until the eggs are set and the thin strips of asparagus are deeply charred.

3. Shaved Asparagus Salad

This salad is all about texture. Thinly sliced raw asparagus is dressed in a citrusy vinaigrette and tossed with orange segments, diced salty bits of Pecorino Romano and toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

4. Asparagus and Smoked Salmon Bundles

These elegant bundles of asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon will set the scene for any brunch menu.

5. Asparagus with Orange Sauce

Asparagus gets hit with a citrusy sauce and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Get more asparagus recipes from Cooking Channel.

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