asparagus :: the food of kings
i don't know about you, but we New Englanders are pretty psyched to see the happy, sun-warm, weather coming on the horizon. but, then again, we're never happy. we'll be complaining about the heat soon enough.
right now, we're getting excited about Springtime produce and first on the list is a true harbinger of Spring--Asparagus! it took me a long time to learn to appreciate it. When I was a kid I thought it was just awful--right up there with cherry tomatoes--those red, squishy, slimy wanna-be grapes. but now that my tastes and I have matured, i'm all about this green, stalky friend. saute 'em, grill 'em, puree them in a soup and i'm there.
want a tiny bit of history? (it's actually interesting)
the word asparagus comes from Greek meaning, "sprout" or "shoot." it's a member of the Lily family. (who knew?) the cultivation of this stalky veg dates back more than 2,000 years in the eastern Mediterranean region. Greeks and Romans alike prized it not only for its texture and mature flavor, but also for its alleged medicinal properties. (it was believed to cure toothaches and bee stings). a friend told me recently that eating canned asparagus cured her of a urinary tract infection. so, there ya go. a multi-purpose vegetable. King Louis XIV of France dubbed it the "Food of Kings." he had special greenhouses built so that he could enjoy it year round.
that's devotion! I can respect that kind of food obsession. this is a vegetable that's so cool it's got it's own .org. seriously. go to www.asparagus.org to find out just about anything you would want to know.
here is my favorite spring/summer recipe. it's so easy, i sort of hesitate to call it a recipe. but it's wikkid yummy!
EASY GRILLED ASPARAGUS
1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
:: heat grill to medium-high. in a shallow bowl drizzle asparagus with olive oil.
:: grill asparagus until tender and browning slightly. turn it frequently for about 5 minutes. transfer to platter. sprinkle with salt to taste. serve warm or at room temperature.
:: i prefer to lay the asparagus right on the grill, but there is the risk of losing some through the grates. that's a risk I'm willing to take. you can also thread them onto skewers or put them in a disposable pan.
now that's good grilling!