Friday, May 20, 2011


    What Tomatoes are to summer ....

                            and Apples are to autumn.....

                                            Asparagus is to spring.

                                                                         mplunkett 2011

          "Velocius quam asparagi coquantor"  or "Faster than you can cook asparagus"
                                                                                              ... Emperor Caesar Augustus
Asparagus marks the start of the Farmer's Market season. This beautiful Spring vegetable comes to market as other vegetables are being planted. A welcome relief after a long cold winter, this green offering for the Earth has a short delicious six week season usually May to mid June.

What tomatoes are to summer and apples are to autumn, asparagus is to spring. Thin or fat, green or white, asparagus fans have their opinions as to which is better. Thin stalks are the first to arrive as they are the first spears to appear from a large mass of roots. Thin has less of a fibrous peel that does not need to be removed and cooks quickly. Within a few weeks a much fatter asparagus with a thicker peel stands in a bundle for sale. But with this thicker stalk that needs to be peeled, comes a more tender, rich juicy flesh. You owe it to yourself to try them all and decide for yourself.

Asparagus with Tomatoes

How to prepare:
 Remove the woody base end. Locally grown have less of a woody end -  if fresh. The woody end is still good to eat, it just takes longer to cook compared to the rest of the stalk, and the number one rule in cooking asparagus is to Never overcook it. So save the ends for your risotto or soups, they taste great. Fatter stalks will need a slight peeling from a potato style peeler to reduce that fiberous peel, but go easy, the rich, juicy, flesh under there.  

Boil or steam for 2-3 minutes, no more. Have a bowl of ice water ready to plunge the stalks Into, refreshing them to keep their texture and bright color. They should be a bright green not an oil be drab. Thin stalks need no peeling and even less time cooking. This is stanadard blanching.
I prefer use my cast iron pan and slice my stalks into thirds and drop them into a hot slightly oiled iron cast skillet for about a minute.

Try these:
Eggs- being an early arrive they pair beautifully especial with yolks.

Butter and butter sauces are a natural. It is easy to make flavored butters like Tabasco or vanilla by adding the flavor to a soften grass fed butter like KerryGold or Smjor.

Tomatoes are good if you can find a good tomato in the spring or with a light tomato paste, olive oil and garlic.

with a crreamy yolk of a farm freah egg
 Goat cheese, especial a soft chevre.

Rolled in a thin slice of ham

Simple squeeze of lemon

Bacon, of course.    

Footnote- Chicken with Asparagus was what I ate at my wedding and I didn't eat it since. Seems to me that was a like of time missed enjoying delicious "sparrow- grass" as the english once called it, but supermarket stalks boiled in water wasn't going to cut it for me.  Experiencing the difference of fresh natural  foods changes everything. I guess a had to wait for the time to be right before discovering this spring delight.
 Asparagus adds color and taste to a breakfast of leftovers and an egg.

No comments:

Post a Comment