Without doubt, spring is here. Violets are in bloom all over the lawns, and half a bushel of asparagus is hauled in every couple of days. Any ideas what to do with it?
I hear there are steamers and vertical cylinders and so on. Right now my go-to method involves a big flat pan with a tight lid. Line the spears up in there; cover barely, just barely, halfway with water; apply the lid; bring to a simmer. A dramatic color change will impress you: as soon as they heat up they turn very bright green. So stand right there and be ready to shut it all down and yank them out after about two minutes – before that bright green color begins to dull.
A particular flavor of early-season asparagus makes the trouble worthwhile. It tastes like fresh, raw, green peas. As long as it is not overcooked, that flavor will make it to the table, along with a tiny little bit of crunchiness, too.
Butter, salt, and pepper are the classic handling, I suppose, of a pile of asparagus on a dinner plate. Lately I have been favoring flavored vinegar as sole treatment.
In full summer, when volume of the herbs becomes impressive, put oregano in a bottle of elderberry vinegar, as above left. Or take up a mass of lovely, delicate green dill leaves and put them in white vinegar, as above right.
Yep, that greenery turns the vinegar golden yellow, or as such yellow is called, “histologist’s green.”
Asparagus-and-vinegar can be topped off with shaved Parmesan. Apply it quickly while the vegetable is still hot, so the Parmesan will melt.
Bon appétit! And may we know some other other asparagus methods favored by Ratbourgeois?