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Grilled Asparagus delicious as side dish or appetizer

Lori Hutson Food editor

When you fire up the grill for this weekend’s festivities, make a little room for the Washington asparagus showing up at local grocery stores.

Here is an incredibly simple preparation for your Memorial Day barbecue or anytime. Serve as an appetizer with a plate of cheese and cured meats. Or use it as a side dish.

If you’re looking for a substitute (or addition) to the traditional potato salad, you might try this Northwest Asparagus Wild Rice Salad. Both recipes are from the Washington Asparagus Commission at www.washingtonasparagus.com.

Grilled Asparagus

From the Washington Asparagus Commission

1 bunch fresh Washington asparagus

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Trim bottoms of asparagus. Lightly brush spears with olive oil. Grill over medium heat (or under broiler) turning once for 3 minutes or to desired tenderness.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 75 calories, 6.8 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 78 percent fat calories), 1.5 grams protein, 2.9 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1.4 grams dietary fiber, 147 milligrams sodium.

Northwest Asparagus Wild Rice Salad

From the Washington Asparagus Commission

2 cups wild rice, uncooked

3 cups fresh Washington asparagus

1 cup smoked salmon, sliced in small chunks

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup red bell pepper, sliced

Dressing:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook wild rice to package directions. Rinse in cold water. Slice asparagus thin in short diagonals. Combine asparagus, salmon, cranberries, red bell pepper and cooled, cooked wild rice. Mix well. Combine dressing ingredients. Toss dressing with salad.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 281 calories, 6 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 19 percent fat calories), 12.4 grams protein, 46 grams carbohydrate, 7.8 milligrams cholesterol, 6 grams dietary fiber, 659 milligrams sodium.

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