Raise your hand if you love Asparagus!!! Me! Me! I do! I do!
Now, more importantly, raise your hand if you don’t. I know there are some of you out there. Hey, I get it. As a kid, my grandma used to cook the worst asparagus. It was mushy and stringy and brown and, ugh, just total yuck. I simply hated it. Years later, I came to find out that my grandma actually used canned asparagus, which explains everything.
Somewhere along the way, although I can’t remember when exactly, I tasted fresh asparagus roasted in the oven with nothing but olive oil, salt and pepper. Everything changed between me and asparagus at that moment. My opinion transformed, asparagus now ranks as one of my most favorite vegetables.
Another thing happened along the way. I became hyper-aware of the seasonality of asparagus. Again, I have no idea when this happened, but once I learned the cycle of asparagus, that it really, truly is a springtime vegetable, available only for 6 or 8 weeks a year, at best, (at least here in Michigan), it became really difficult for me to buy asparagus during the off season.
I’m confused by my resistance to asparagus in January or September. Sure, I believe in seasonality and locality, but I’m hardly a purist. I don’t shun avocados because they aren’t grown in Michigan. And I’ve been known to buy strawberries and blueberries from California even in the dead of winter. So, what is it about Asparagus?!?
Well, I can’t explain. But, what it does mean for me is that as soon as spring starts to break through my cravings for asparagus amp up big time. The time is near. Asparagus is just working to break through! Can you smell it? Soon, we’ll see it everywhere at nearly every table at the farmers market. My nearby store will proudly post signage that their asparagus is grown right here in Michigan. The season will have sprung.
That, my friends is what seasonal eating is all about. Waiting, expecting, hopeful for those favorite foods that only show up at certain times a year. Sure, it’s hard to wait, but when the time comes it’s so incredibly worth it. We consume obsessively, as much and as often as we can for the mere weeks it’s truly available. But then, the season begins to pass. Hopefully by that point, we have over-consumed just enough that we feel ok saying good-bye, at least for awhile.
It’s all so exciting, isn’t it? Romantic, even.
So, in honor of the recipe that turned hate into love, see my Roasted Asparagus instructions posted below. Ready in less than 15 minutes is just another reason to love Asparagus.
The easiest way to bring out the beautiful flavor of asparagus.
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Snap or cut ends off the ends of the asparagus. Place stalks on a sheet tray. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.
Place tray in oven and roast until stalks are tender but still with a slight bite, about 10-12 minutes depending on how thick your stalks are. Remove from oven and serve while warm or refrigerate for later use.