Tag Archive - Asparagus

The Confidence of Asparagus

Asparagus is one of those vegetables commanding respect in the grocery store. They stand upright in bunches boasting portly or svelte stalks (my favorite) with unique heads, that when looked at overhead resemble a type of berry.

They also challenge the novice cook to maximize flavor and reduce the “stalkiness” of texture, so people don’t feel like they’re flossing while eating.

In a word, they seem “unapproachable.” Onlookers take sideways glances, trying to figure out what to do with them.

Sometimes I think we do this with people. We see them from a distance and try to figure out the best way to approach them…wrapping ourselves up in our own insecurities, replete with a chocolate brown silk organza bow.

That’s why I like this photograph so much. The bunch I picked out to take pictures of at a recent workshop is imperfect, with a broken stalk in the lower corner. A good reminder that everyone lacks the sheen of perfection. So why do we stand on the outskirts of the pedestals we’ve created for everyone else?

We all have something to share, something to say. We all want validation, to be heard, to be noticed. And not everyone is as mysterious and complex as we think.

Asparagus, while seemingly complex, is actually straightforward and like putty in your hands when you pay a little attention to it. Trim the ends, peel the outer layer, steam, grill, blanch or saute, add a little Kosher or Sea Salt and a little pepper, some Olive Oil, and a bit of lemon juice before serving, and you’ve got what could possibly be your favorite vegetable.

If you have someone in your life that seems unapproachable, pay a little attention to them and you may discover they aren’t as complex as you think.

Pencil-thin Asparagus

This is a photo I took of some pencil-thin asparagus I was about to put in a 450-degree oven. I don’t know what it is, but when I see bright green food I just have to take a snapshot, and these were beautiful.

It’s not that I’m prejudiced against the portly kind of asparagus. True, the thin ones look more elegant, are more delicate and taste better, but they all look ridiculous growing in the garden. Especially in time-lapse.

Asparagus is a versitile vegetable which can be eaten steaming hot or at room-temperature in a salad with Mozzarella Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Red-leaf Lettuce, Black Olives and homemade Viniagrette. Not many out-of-the-ordinary vegetables can boast about that.

I’ve cooked them practically every which way and I usually peel the outer skin, it looks even brighter and more delicate…it’s almost like art, except for you have to eat it. Here’s what I did to my non-portly asparagus lastnight:

1) Trim off last 2 inches
2) Douse with olive oil (or try Hazlenut or Grapeseed)
3) Sprinkle Sea Salt
4) Sprinkle Lemon Pepper
5) Sprinkle Cracked Pepper
6) Wunx it up
7) Put in 450-degree oven for 6 1/2 minutes (for a slightly crunchy, but non mushy texture)
8) Sprinkle microplaned Paremesan Cheese over all (the microplane makes the cheese delicate and curly…beautiful)

Your kids may not love them, but you might convince other adults in your family that these are wonderful, and you will feel pencil-thin and non-portly eating them. Enjoy!

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