Friday, May 27, 2011

Asparagus: An Unrequited Love Story

Asparagus season is upon us! I love fresh asparagus so much that I don’t want any of the inferior stuff that is shipped from around the globe year round. No, I wait patiently for a year until the snappy green spears appear at the local farmers market or at the grocer, festooned with the Ontario label. I usually make a festival out of asparagus season. I say usually because this year I am not to partake. It is verboten.

Why? I’ll tell you why, though I risk boring you with the details. I have received the results of some blood work that tells you what foods you have antibodies to and should avoid. The results for asparagus are in the moderate range with the suggestion that said food should be avoided for three months before reintroducing (at least I think I get to reintroduce those foods…must confirm this). This means I’ll miss the whole damn season. My ardent love of asparagus shall not be rewarded this year it seems. And oh I had so many delicious plans for what I was going to do to…

First, I would have had made an entire meal of steamed asparagus with a generous pat of butter and sprinkled some grey sea salt and called it fit for any queen. I may have, on another day, done something similar with olive oil and a little lemon and a poached egg.

Let’s not forget that asparagus season coincides with grilling season. With my spears tossed in a little olive oil I would have laid them across the grill over some hot coals when the rest of the meal had had it’s turn. Those blistered and charred spears would have been just delightful with a few shavings of Parmesan.

I wanted to remake the yummy pizza with shaved asparagus inspired by one on Smitten Kitchen that I made last year (and possibly taken a better photo). Though shaving the vegetable with a peeler is a bit tedious, it is well worth the effort because the end result is a pile of bright and pale green ribbons that you put on your dough in a lovely tangle.

There definitely would have been a pasta dish that captured the essence of spring with some fava beans, ramps and perhaps some morels - if I was feeling like a wee splurge.

Boy was I was excited when I recently found a soup recipe in one of our cookbooks that calls for those woody ends that you snap off and normally discard. I was thrilled at the possibility of being so frugal and delicious. I love that intersection where frugality and flavour collide.

I must not go on like this – of what might have been – but I must urge you to make a feast while you can if you are one of the lucky ones. May I suggest a search on Tastespotting for inspiration? Do tell me of all your delicious creations…I can take it.

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