Spring Ingredients

Asparagus

By Tara Swartzendruber-Landis / Photography By D. Lucas Landis | Last Updated April 25, 2018
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Asparagus reminds us that winter won’t last forever. It urges us to get outside and fire up the grill. But asparagus season lasts only a few weeks; you have to harvest it before the fronds open up and the seeds fall. Look for beautiful bunches of asparagus at your local farmers market starting in late April or early May.

Before the days of Amazon, Walmart and Blue Apron, early spring was when we existed on the bits at the bottom of the root cellar: cabbages, potatoes, onions and maybe a few soft apples.

Well, last year’s apples are gone, the onions are sprouting and the last wrinkled potatoes are in the Crock-Pot. It won’t be long before the clouds part, the sun peeks out and the first green, purple and white asparagus spears pop up.

Asparagus reminds us that winter won’t last forever. It urges us to get outside and fire up the grill. But asparagus season lasts only a few weeks; you have to harvest it before the fronds open up and the seeds fall. Look for beautiful bunches of asparagus at your local farmers market starting in late April or early May.

Selecting: Size isn’t an indicator of the quality of the asparagus, just its maturity. Look for the tips to be closed and firm. Select stalks that are firm, not limp.

Storing: Store in the refrigerator in plastic and use within five to seven days.

Preparing: This versatile vegetable can be eaten many ways. Try it roasted, steamed, raw or grilled.

Pairing: almonds, basil, beets, black pepper, butter, capers, carrots, cheese, chervil, chives, cream, crème fraîche, dill, eggs, fava beans, garlic, ginger, ham, leeks, lemon, lemon thyme, lime, marsala wine, mascarpone, mayonnaise, mushrooms, mustard, olive oil, onions, orange, pancetta, parsley, peas, peppers, pistachios, potatoes, ramps, rice, saffron, sage, salmon, salt, savory, scallions, sesame seeds, shallots, sour cream, soy sauce, spinach, tarragon, thyme, tomatoes, turnips, vinegar, white wine, yogurt.

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