Asparagus, Part Two

Asparagus continued... 5) Eat it RAW when possible. Slivers or your best, most creating slices or strings are just fine. A fast blanch followed by ice water is fine. Plain ice water will help curl your decorative strips. (Hint: Use the potato peeler for the entire lower 60% of the stalk and curl the product.) 6) Cook your Asparagus gently. Steaming whole stalks does not take long. If you are a chubnker or a stir-fry person, cook your chopped chunks for about HALF the time that you would have guessed. Boiling should be a felony, but well-controlled steaming in a microwave can be ideal. (I've used a Pyrex loaf pan, plastic wrap and 2-3 Tbs white wine with superior results (add some EVOO and Rice Vinegar for serving?) Sautee if intending to use your Asparagus in another dish, but only lightly. (A favorite is Asparagus and potato frattta - both the asparagus and the potato need a little pre-cooking, but please don't over due it. 7) No matter how you use your Asparagus, it will retain more flavor and texture if you don't cook it to death. Did I mention that overcooked Asparagus is a felony in my neighborhood? 8)- and last, as noted elsewhere, the diameter of the stalk is NOT a mark of quality, representing only the general age of the perennial 'root' that supports it. The thick and think stalks are exactly the same - though your bundle should be all of the same type. Asparagus is one of the Spring Season's greatest joys. If you are fortunate enough to have enjoy high quality Asparagus, please - don't screw it up after your precious bundle is a home!


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