Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Waiting for Asparagus
I'm hoping the asparagus crop will be early this year. To my mind, few foods are as pretty as fresh asparagus. The stalks vary in color from pale green to dark emerald streaked with purple. I feel especially lucky, because my close neighbor Bryon Clemence grows several types of asparagus at the Burroughs Farm. He sells it fresh-cut, and it is truly delicious.
Usually, the first time I eat fresh seasonal asparagus, I just steam it quickly in a frypan with an inch of water. I cook it for two or three minutes, and it comes out bright green and incredibly tasty. I add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and some salt and then eat it plain. After I've had several such meals, I usually branch out. Sometimes I make a quiche; at other times, I add buttered crumbs or a cheese sauce; often I wrap a few spears in thin ham slices and serve cold with mayonnaise.
Last month, I grilled asparagus for the first time and loved it. I tossed the spears with a bit of olive oil and then put them directly on the hot grill for just a few minutes.
A few weeks ago, I tried a recipe that I found online, called Absurdly Addictive Asparagus. Besides asparagus, the dish contains leeks, pancetta, garlic, citrus, and a few other ingredients. My first thought was that it was good, but addictive? However, by the time I had polished off a large bowlful, I decided that the adjective was accurate. The taste lingered in my memory, so I kept returning to the refrigerator.