Thursday, May 12, 2011

The spears of spring are here!

Winter is over, asparagus is here. I spied my first display of the spring-green spears at my local Safeway last Sunday. Instinctively, like pressing the brake at a stoplight, I put the bundle of asparagus in my cart. Later that night, I ate them fresh from the oven, crunchy and dripping with olive oil, sea salt and garlic.

It was only a couple of years ago that I learned to love asparagus. I had steered clear of it for years, remembering how my parents used to overcook it, serving it up mushy, stringy and smelling unappetizingly pungent. My friend brought a bunch to a barbeque a couple of years ago and threw the spears on the grill wrapped in tinfoil, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. She’s from northern Michigan, where asparagus grows abundantly, and was well-versed in preparing the vegetable. So trying her version was a revelation.

I have since made sure, like tomatoes, potatoes, onions and carrots, to make asparagus part of my produce-buying routine. Asparagus is such a meaty, satisfying vegetable, like mushrooms or fingerlings. I still think grilling is the best way to prepare asparagus – a method I do not have access to in my current living situation. Head over to Bon App├ętit magazine, though, for a great reflection on the vegetable, and some tips (har, har) on preparing it.

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