By TY Beaver | Tri-City Herald
Ever thought of putting asparagus on your hot dog? How about in pasta or fried rice? Or even in a sweet pastry with cream cheese frosting?
Too bad if you didn’t. Some of those are award-winning ideas.
Seven food trucks participated in the May 27 asparagus contest at Pasco’s Food Truck Friday, crafting special dishes using asparagus as a component.
The contest was the culmination of a monthlong collaboration between the Pasco Specialty Kitchen and the Washington Asparagus Commission, which are seeking to raise the profile of the slender green spears grown in the region.
I joined two other judges to sample the entries, though we sadly didn’t make it in time to one food truck before they ran out. That left us with six entries to try.
I was skeptical of how the vendors were going to pull it off. I’m a fan of asparagus, but I don’t know of any other ways to prepare it than simply oven roasting it with some salt, pepper and butter or oil.
Each vendor crafted a dish that was delicious. The bacon-wrapped asparagus spear that accompanied the shrimp linguine from Backyard Grub was great, and Fresh Out The Box brought its consistently strong game to its Pine-aragus fried rice.
Jiggy’s Bacon Asparagus Wheel was a lot of cheesy goodness. And Between the Buns made a beautiful looking dog with an equally cool name: The Back Pain, a homage to the hard work that goes into harvesting asparagus.
Doggie Style Gourmet, a newcomer to Food Truck Friday, was the unanimous favorite with the judges. Its Green Machine Dog had an asparagus slaw of peeled asparagus stalks, a method we found delivered the most asparagus flavor in every bite. Their creation earned them the Judge’s Choice award.
But it was Two Chicks Baking Co. that surprised us. I could never begin to think how to incorporate asparagus into a sweet pastry, but they more than succeeded.
The Asparagus Roll is likely reminiscent of zucchini bread, but you see the bits of asparagus in there, and while the overwhelming sweetness of the bread muted that flavor, it was an ingenious way to incorporate the vegetable, earning them the Most Creative Asparagus Dish award.
Though asparagus may not be a regular item on the menu, Food Truck Friday continues from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the summer at the Pasco Farmers Market at Columbia Street and Fourth Avenue.