Ah, spring, that great awakening. Blossoms everywhere, gardens planted, and early crops are filling the stands at our local farmers’ markets. Local chefs know what that means: Asparagus time.
Washington State grows some of the best asparagus in the country, which is why we’re the nation’s largest grower. Mineral-rich volcanic soils, abundant natural water supply, warm sunny days and cool nights make Eastern Washington an ideal growing region. While you can get asparagus year-round in supermarkets, much of the year it is being shipped from Peru or Mexico. April through June is the heart of Washington’s asparagus season. At peak times, Washington asparagus can grow as much as ten inches in a day, and it must be cut by hand. Like many vegetables, asparagus starts losing its sweetness as soon as it’s cut. Fortunately, trucks whisk freshly cut asparagus from farms in the Columbia Basin, the Yakima Valley, and the Walla Walla area to stores throughout the Puget Sound. You’ll spot it: Smooth-skinned and bright green stalks with compact, tightly formed heads.
At Pagliacci Pizza, we celebrate this flavorful season with our Asparagus Prosciutto Primo. We roast local asparagus until it’s just tender—our favorite preparation. Then we layer it with smoky prosciutto, Taleggio (a mild cheese with a fruity tang), and mozzarella over an olive oil base. Order one and you’ll see why we’re thrilled every year when local asparagus arrives.
Our seasonal crew pie also features a long, green vegetable: the Hatch chile (Yes, we know, some call chiles a fruit. Not us.) Our BBQ Chicken Primo is a co-production of Field Manager Jeff Maneval, and our Director of Operations, John Clifford. John hails from New Mexico, home of the Hatch chile. (Guess what his contribution was?) Hatch chiles are a state treasure in New Mexico and feature heavily in their cuisine. The Hatch chile has medium spice and a smoky, rich flavor. During harvest season the pungent aroma of roasting green Hatch chiles fills town squares in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and beyond.
When John first arrived in Seattle over 15 years ago, Hatch chiles were hard to come by here. “The first few years were rough, but New Mexicans look out for each other,” John says. “Whenever any of the New Mexicans I know would go back, we would all place orders for chiles to be flown back.”
In the last few years, Hatch chiles have made their way onto local menus and grocery shelves—for good reason. You can enjoy them on our BBQ Chicken Primo which features Isernio’s chicken sausage, pickled red onions, roasted Hatch chiles and mozzarella over barbecue sauce. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro tops it all off.
And finally, to round out your meal, our new seasonal gelato is Gelatiamo’s Orange Cream Gelato. Inspired by the classic Creamsicle, it’s a premium reinvention: creamy gelato spiked with citrus and laced with the nostalgia of ice-cream trucks and hot summer days. It’s a perfect dessert as we roll into summer. Treat yourself while supplies last.