This was my breakfast this morning:
That’s a two-egg omelette, 1 Tb half & half, with fresh baby onions, herbs, and asparagus from the garden.
I’d like to talk to you about asparagus.
It’s crunchy, it’s tender, it’s sweet, it’s bitter, there are pretty much limitless things you can do with it and it is freaking amazing.
When I was a kid, I didn’t eat asparagus. I haven’t the faintest idea why; I was never a picky eater in the typical little kid way– my favorite foods were liver, okra, brussels sprouts and tabouleh, and I suspect that had something to do with how unpopular I was in nursery school.
But asparagus didn’t do it for me. I mean, I’d eat it if someone put it on my plate and told me to, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to touch the stuff. Sometime when I was nine or ten, I read an article in the New York Times about how male asparagus was preferable to female asparagus, and I developed this spiel about how I was boycotting asparagus consumption due to sexism in the industry. I think it was funny and precocious for a ten year old, or something.
But sometime in my college years, I realized the joke wasn’t funny anymore, and I actually liked asparagus on account of it being an amazing vegetable with lots of delicious applications.
The thing about asparagus is that it’s insanely easy to grow, and my personal experience has been that growing it at home, provided you have the space, yields bigger, more beautiful, and more delicious asparagus than you will ever find in a store.
Anyway, when my mom started the garden a few years ago, asparagus was one of the first things we planted. This is our third year with asparagus, and to be truthful, it’s the first year that the yield is impressive enough that I want to brag about our asparagus.
Which is typical. When you grow asparagus, you’re making a commitment to a future of delicious, asparagus-laden feasts with zero in the instant gratification department. It’s never edible the first year. The second year, you’ll get a few delicious, tender, sweet spears. The third year, it will rock your world.
Okay, that’s sort of a very simplified explanation. The first year, asparagus is good for something.
You see those fine, light fronds that are in the foreground of this picture? That’s first year asparagus. It is fragile and fragrant and bitter as wormwood. What people don’t seem to grasp is its application as an herb. Those fronds are amazing on salads, or fried up in some butter and mixed into scrambled eggs, and I’ve mixed two or three gin cocktails with them. They have a flavor like nothing else you will ever eat.
Second year, you’re going to get something more like this:
It’s like a little tree! Once those branches develop, asparagus is too bitter and tough to eat, and on second year asparagus, they develop really quickly, but that’s okay, because you leave them, and they re-seed the trench. If you want to eat these babies, you have to watch them like a hawk and pick them at just the right time. But really, what you want to wait for is third-year asparagus:
It’s thick, and dark, and oh so tender and grows pretty high (about 18 inches and sometimes two feet) before it develops branches and is off-limits. It is sweet as can be and it will be a hard thing to not eat it raw out of the ground, and your reaction will be “holy crap!” because it is asparagus and you are eating it raw and goddammit, it is one of the most divine things you’ve ever eaten. But if you manage to bring some of it back to the house, you get this:
So awesome. So freaking awesome.
Mirrored from Antagonia.net.