by Heather Harris-Brady
Given the fact I’m still looking at a ridiculous amount of snow on the ground for mid-April it must be spring somewhere because asparagus has turned up in the market. Asparagus is big around here. So big in fact, that we have an entire festival dedicated to it. Which, I might add, made the USA Today list of top 10 weirdest festivals in the US. I was so proud.
Anyway, there are a few things to know about asparagus. It is very easy to clean and keep snapping fresh if you follow a few simple steps.
1) Only buy asparagus that has moist, cut ends. If the ends are really dried out, it’s been mishandled.
2) Grasp each end of each stalk and bend it. It will snap where the tough part starts. Alternatively, you can peel the tough part. But if you do snap them you can wash the cut ends and simmer them in stock for asparagus soup, so you can still use the whole stalk.
3) Once you’ve snapped the stalks stand them upright in a jar of water, to which you’ve added a pinch of sugar. Put the entire thing in the fridge. The stalks will keep fresh for a week or more this way as long as you make sure there is water in the jar.
When you are ready to cook the asparagus roasting is a safe way to go. The stalks are tender and a beautiful bright green.
Roast Asparagus, Basic Recipe
1 lb. asparagus, cleaned as noted above
2 T. olive oil
Seasoning to taste
Preheat the oven to 375. After you’ve washed the asparagus stalks lay them out on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle them with the olive oil and roll them around so they are entirely coated. Add any spices you like at this point.
Close the package up, first folding the long edges together and down; then folding the ends together and down. Put the sealed package in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the package from the oven and check the stalks to see if they are aldente. If your stalks are on the thick side it may take a bit longer. Serve hot. You may use them for any dish calling for cooked asparagus.