Thursday, April 26, 2012

Local Asparagus Has Arrived!

About two weeks ago, I began to get impatient. Where was the local asparagus? It seldom arrives this early in the year, but I knew that this spring was weirdly warm. Then I received an email from my neighbor at Burroughs Farm announcing the first crop. Not quite enough to sell at market, but enough for the loyal asparagus lovers who eagerly await this seasonal delight.

I wrote back, saying "Save me two pounds," and picked it up this afternoon, just hours after it was harvested. (Want to get some yourself? Write to Bryon Clemence at bclemence at verizon dot net and ask when he will have some.) One pound I gave to my daughter, Kate, and the other I cooked for dinner. Since it was so fresh, I made it the simplest way I know: simmered for 3 minutes in a covered frypan and then sprinkled with garlicky buttered breadcrumbs.

The next batch I cook I will probably grill, and I'll probably make a lot. I enjoy cold asparagus almost as much as hot. I wrap it in thinly sliced cold ham, add a bit of mayonnaise, and eat it with toast. At the start of the season, I usually eat it plain, but after I've been enjoying it for a few weeks, I start using it in quiches, omelets, and other dishes.

Asparagus is considered a bit of a wonder food, since it is low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber. Once it was considered an aphrodisiac, but sadly, that has been discounted. However, science is still looking at asparagus. The online world is filled with articles about why asparagus makes your pee smell funny. I was amused to learn that  no one can pinpoint the exact cause of the odor, but they have learned that some people cannot recognize the scent, while others do so immediately. I like the idea that this is a subject of serious study. I bet it occasions some very odd discussions around the water cooler.

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