prime season for asparagus started a while back in spring, but there are still plenty of tasty spears to be enjoyed. this has long been one of my favorite vegetables for its great earthy flavor. well and also because after one small bite it makes your pee smell funny, thanks to the high amount of nutrients it packs in. i am sure you have noticed this before… it has always intrigued me.
asparagus is very low in calories (only about 5 per spear which means you can probably just drop and give me 5 pushups and burn off a whole bunch) and is a great source of potassium, fiber, thiamin, vitamin b6 and other vitamins that i have not really heard of and therefore feel strange writing about. one site claimed asparagus to be ‘one of the most nutritionally well-balanced vegetables in existence.’ way to go asparagus.
there are hundreds of varieties but only about 20 are edible. three varieties you may see at the market are green, white and purple. green is of course the most common and comes in all different sizes from pencil thin to quite thick. i have read that the larger the diameter, the better the quality. i personally like pencil quite a bit for grilling and roasting as it only takes a minute and it has a nice mouth feel and taste. the thicker stems are great for cutting paper thin and serving raw. when it comes to purple, i often opt for the thicker bunches as i like to keep them raw to show off the color. the first time i bought purple asparagus i put it in some water to boil and when i looked back a minute later, the purple was gone. no one would know what beautiful asparagus i had found.
white asparagus is a whole other story. i have yet to find a local farm that grows it and sells it at the market, as it is a bit labor intensive. it is grown underground to prevent it from developing chlorophyll content, therefore remaining white in color. the texture is a bit crunchier and the flavor can be a bit bitter if not handled properly. i have made some delicious soups from it by just slowly cooking it in nice evoo, adding in a bit of white wine, vegetable stock and heavy cream. it is also delicious just lightly sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper. just be sure ot peel it first as the outer layer can be a bit stringy.
though you can find asparagus at the grocery store year round, the prime time to enjoy it is coming to an end so hit the market and enjoy!!