Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
Today, I’m talking about Asparagus
cap, captain miss america

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.

  • 1
I always thought I would like asparagus-- it's such a pretty vegetable and it's so sophisticated. And then I tried it-- and it was a big letdown. I did not like it at all! I was very disappointed, because I really thought I would love it!


There are a few things that can happen with asparagus--

-Out of season asparagus can be overwhelmingly bitter.
-Like katieupsidedown mentions, canned or frozen asparagus is just kind of gross. I suspect that may have been my problem with it when I was a kid. It's okay in quiche or some soups, but that's about it.
-If there is any possibility you are a supertaster, asparagus is one of the supertaster foods that tastes hideously bad to supertasters.
-Asparagus gets rubbery if it goes too long between picking and eating.

Barring that, get a piece of homegrown asparagus and see what you think! If you still don't like it, then it was not meant to be!

I also hated asparagus as a kid. I loved every other vegetable (except sweet potatoes, gross) but wouldn't touch asparagus unless you paid me. It was the only thing I've repeatedly refused to eat, although my parents both love it.

Last year I was at a cafe and I ordered something that came with a side of asparagus. Having paid for it, I took a bite.

It tasted NOTHING LIKE the asparagus we ate when I was a kid.

Here's what I realized: my parents were broke-ass bitches when I was a kid. Fresh asparagus is expensive. So my mom made one dish that involved asparagus: "asparagus salad".

Asparagus salad consists of the following: several pieces of cold, limp, canned asparagus, with a HUGE glob of mayonnaise on top.

... no wonder I hated that stuff.

Oh gross! I suspect that my complaints about asparagus came from eating the frozen kind when I was young and my parents were broke, too.

I hate sweet potatoes, too. I am so relieved someone else hates them, people always look at me like it's a crime.

(Deleted comment)
It is completely amazing when it is just growing there in the dirt. It's gianormous!

Someday! I don't have a garden, either, I just co-opt my parents'.

My breakfast was delicious. I wish I could share it with everyone.

(Deleted comment)
Perfect solution: land far enough away that it's cheap and can grow a garden, and keep the flat. I hope you can do that someday, because it's awesome.

and scrambled tofu is amazing with asparagus! And I would recommend a little paprika. Are you vegan or just no-egg? I don't think I realized that!

(Deleted comment)
Actually, what is funny about this is that it only makes a certain percentage of the populstion's urine smell bad. Some people it does not affect. And then, there is a percentage of the population who can't smell the bad urine smell based on the way their taste buds are configured. So some people think this is an urban legend when in fact it is not.

(Deleted comment)
Well, my favorite thing to do with asparagus is crazy easy. Basically, you need five things: eggs, asparagus, prosciutto, butter, and black pepper. You want to just blanch the asparagus so it's bright green and still crunchy, and then wrap the asparagus spears in the prosciutto. You want 3-4 large spears per person to do this as a main dish, one or two as an appetizer.

Then, poach one egg per person and serve it over the asparagus. Pour a little melted butter and grind some fresh black pepper on top.

Bang! Done!

(Deleted comment)
Oh, crap, right, no pork! Substitute the prosciutto with bresaola!

And yeah, poaching eggs is not that hard. It's the kind of thing that just requires enough practice that you have a feel for it, and poached eggs are too divine for words.

Mmmm, espàrrecs!
I have rediscovered asparagus since I moved to Catalonia and it's delicious! Asparagus omelette is a pretty common dish here.

I love asparagus omelette! And asparagus quiche!

  • 1