I had to drop some stuff off at Poole’s Downtown Diner a few minutes ago, and while there, I asked Ashley Christensen what she had on the menu tonight. “Asparagus — first of the season,” she replied with a goofy grin on her face.
Oh, asparagus, how I love thee.
Asparagus is such a wonderful vegetable and goes well with so many things. You can roast it, steam it, stir fry it, grill it or boil it. You can add it to salads or make it the focal point of its own salad. It goes well with dairy, be it cheese or cream-based sauces. It makes a great filling for ravioli, and asparagus soup is a beautiful bowl of tasty green. One of my favorite dishes is asparagus topped with a poached egg and shavings of pecorino romano and lots of pepper. I’ve made asparagus and sour cream omelettes.
But what I love most about asparagus is its symbolism: asparagus represents to me the true beginning of spring. Strawberries will soon follow, and then the farmers markets will be filled with all sorts of goodies. The dull browns of winter’s root vegetables and heavy dishes will be replaced with the vibrant polychrome of summer’s bounty. And the flavors!
So head out to the farmers market and pick up some Spring — in convenient, tasty, spear-shaped servings.