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Every cook knows a bundle of asparagus spears, whether stocky or slim, is every cook’s favorite springtime bouquet and when fresh asparagus begins to show up in the market… spring is close behind! Asparagus is the aristocrat of the garden, but a democrat in the kitchen, harmonizing with the humblest of ingredients.
The keys to delicious asparagus – fat or thin, green, purple, or white – are freshness and proper preparation. Since asparagus is highly perishable, the journey from the market to cooking pot should be as brief as possible.
When choosing asparagus, look for compact tips and firm, smooth stems free of yellowing. If you must store asparagus before cooking, treat it like a bunch of flowers, placing the trimmed stalks in a glass with an inch or two of water.
Asparagus needs only a brief cooking and is at its best when simply steamed. Asparagus is a delight to work with because of its versatility. It lends itself to all sorts of other flavors and preparation, hot or cold, simple or complicated. It stands up against very rich sauces made with cheese or cream. It pairs beautifully with the woodsy flavor of mushrooms and with salty cured meats such as bacon and prosciutto. But it is equally at home in fresh, light salads and slaws; its restrained heartiness balances nicely with the tang of citrus or a full-bodied vinaigrette.
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Olive Frittata~ is there anything easier, and more comforting, than eggs for dinner? This is a convenient busy day 30-minute meal that always feels like a treat to me.
“Do that in less time than it takes to cook asparagus.”
~ A Roman Expression