PENINSULA KITCHEN: Spring is the season for fresh asparagus sandwiches

EARLY SPRING 1994, my college roommate and I headed off on a grand camping road trip adventure.

We followed the Columbia River out to the coast from our inland college campus and took a left at the Pacific Ocean.

Adventuring

We were adventuring on the cheap as only 19-year-olds are wont to do: sleeping in a tent, cooking dinners on the camp stove, roasting marshmallows over fires we begged neighboring campers to start for us, dipping toes in sand and icy-cold water, collecting shells, throwing rocks, skipping any sort of tourist trap that cost money.

Small indulgences were omitted in favor of a hot coffee in a cafe or the odd dinner out.

Somewhere near the middle of our trip, we had a long driving day, got cranky and couldn’t find a campsite.

Finally, we stopped at an inviting restaurant near the tidelands of the town.

Fresh asparagus

Inside, our welcoming hostess hustled us in and suggested we have the fresh special: asparagus just plucked from a nearby farm on crusty sourdough bread made down the street.

It was topped with Tillamook cheddar from the creamery we’d visited early in the day.

A simple, rustic sandwich, made delightful because of the very fresh and local ingredients.

I do not remember what we talked about by candlelight that night. But I can feel the warmth of the room, smell the nearby ocean breeze and taste that perfect meal.

Every April, when our farmers market boasts a very few weeks with asparagus available, my family makes these sandwiches.

Alchemy

Something akin to alchemy happens when these everyday ingredients are combined.

For a brief moment, I am transported to a wet and dreary Oregon Coast night when my best friend and I took shelter in each other’s company and a delicious, simple dinner.

Open-Face Asparagus Sandwiches

1 bunch local asparagus

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Chewy sourdough bread, sliced

Mayonnaise

Sharp cheddar cheese

Optional: ripe tomato slices, avocado

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Drizzle olive oil over the spears, then season with salt and pepper.

Toss with your hands until evenly spread out.

Place tray under preheated broiler and roast, turning once, until asparagus are just fork tender and lightly charred.

Remove the tray and place bread under broiler briefly to toast.

To assemble sandwiches: spread mayonnaise lightly on the bread, top with asparagus spears (it’s OK if they hang off the edge of your bread). If using tomato or avocado, place next. Top with sliced cheese.

Return sandwiches to the broiler and heat until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden brown on the edges.

________

Carrie Sanford, who shares the Peninsula Kitchen column with Betsy Wharton, is a mother, wife, educator, artist, activist and cook.

She writes the newsletter for Salt Creek Farm in Joyce during the growing season and volunteers with nonprofits and schools in Port Angeles, where she lives with her husband, Tom Sanford, and their daughter, Abby.

More in Life

ISSUES OF FAITH: When do we disobey?

HERE ARE TWO quotes to think about: “Civil Disobedience, noun: Refusal to… Continue reading

Unity in Olympics program scheduled

Connie Munro will present “Not Perfect, But Wonderful” at… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker scheduled

The Rev. Bruce Bode will present “The Ache of… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “The Power of… Continue reading

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during Saturday’s annual plant sale and raffle at the floral barn at the Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles. The sale, hosted by the Port Angeles Garden Club, was a fundraiser for club projects and scholarships, and it featured a wide variety of plants for the upcoming growing season and beyond. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Plant sale at Clallam County Fairgrounds

Katie Lee of Port Angeles examines a table of perennial plants during… Continue reading

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.

 

(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unitarian speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading