Just A Bundle Of Spring Asparagus

By Joell Folger

Yes, spring fever is still in overdrive, spring snow storm aside, let’s talk about green things. The green thing of the moment is asparagus. This spring green delight is at peak right now, it is just too hard to resist.

My chef John is not a fan of asparagus, nope - no way. Eating the entire bundle was up to me. Although I am ready for the task, I am going to prepare it in two different ways.

Fresh asparagus is perfect for the blanching method of cooking. Also, I could not resist the fun of sealing in that bright shade of green that pops after just a minute or two in the boiling water. Ooooo….that quick drop into the ice bath on the counter seals in that bright green color.



To start the blanching process, bring some salted water to a rolling boil, drop the asparagus for a minute or two. You want the color to develop and remove it from the boiling water at the al dente moment. Remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place directly in the ice water bath. The ice bath immediately stops the cooking process, preserving the asparagus, or vegetable du jour, in that colorful al dente state. About now, the asparagus is ready for almost anything. Something creamy like added to an alfredo or simple in a salad. I was out of time and almost hangry, so I went the simple route. I ate some cold before, during and after the pictures because I could not stop snacking. When the pictures were over, the remaining pieces were chopped up and tossed into my salad bowl.

For the second way, I put in a little more effort. This time, I would use my favorite method to prepare asparagus, sautėed in olive oil with garlic and lemon. To my heated pan, I added a quick swirl of olive oil, a chopped clove of garlic and the raw asparagus stalks. Roll the asparagus in the pan to coat all of the stalks. After about 3 minutes, I slowly added about a tablespoon of water.  "Be careful mixing the water with the hot oil in the pan. It will burst at you! I did not have that much oil in my pan, but you do need to think about that reaction."  I covered the pan, lowered the heat to med-low, let it cook for another 4- 6 minutes. When it was there, I squeezed in about ¼ lemon worth of juice and added some zest. The asparagus was finished with some fresh ground black pepper. Perfect, easy and so very delicious.

Although I will probably curl up with some wine or hot chocolate tonight, the memories of the bright green asparagus will stand out as the sea of spring snowflakes falls. We will eat our way to spring.



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