I had the best intentions of writing a series of posts on asparagus this spring — well in time to make the most of the season. But here we are several weeks (and many meals) into the local season without a mention of this favourite green vegetable.
Time to rectify that.
I planted my 19 (I ordered 18, but received one extra) crowns in deep trenches on April 25. I feared for a couple that I found overturned, roots exposed, by some sort of animal (neighbour’s dog, perhaps?) a few days later. But I tucked them back into the soil and today, they are all sporting one or two leggy spears. To encourage robust plants, asparagus should not be harvested the first year it is planted (and only sparingly the second year), so I cannot yet report on the taste. But I was thrilled to see the purple-green shoots poking through the soil at the east end of the garden.
Our favourite, simple yet delicious, way to eat fresh asparagus. This feeds two at our house — but it entirely depends on what else you are serving and how much you like asparagus.
1 bunch of asparagus
15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
fresh ground pepper
juice of half a lemon
zest of half a lemon (optional)
Preheat oven – 350 to 400 F works. (I adjust depending on what else I may have in the oven for dinner.)
Wash and trim asparagus. Snap off the woody ends and save for soup. (Recipe to come.)
Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon zest if using.
Place in single layer on baking sheet.
Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until spears are bright green and still slightly firm.
Spritz with lemon juice. Serve.
1. Skip the lemon and salt. Add soy sauce to taste with the olive oil.
2. Skip the lemon and salt. Substitute melted butter for olive oil. Add soy sauce.
3. Add a couple cloves of finely minced garlic to the olive oil.
4. A couple minutes before the asparagus is done, sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan cheese. Return to oven for two minutes.