That sound instantly brings me back to my childhood. I’m standing over the kitchen sink, my mom guiding me as I pick up a piece of asparagus. The window over us lets in a single dramatic ray of light, hitting, in its path, the colander in front of me. “Would you like me to show you how to trim it?” She smiles down at me and I, in return, smile back, anxiously awaiting her next move. Gently, she takes the asparagus from my hand and points to the stem. “This is where it will naturally break off.”
“Did you see that?”
I did. She hands me another spear and I demonstrate what I’ve just learned. Lesson one of my culinary education: completed.
This would be the first of many things that my mom taught me about asparagus. How it grew (straight up, out of the ground, in fact). How to pick out the best bunch at the store (avoid woody stems and discolored, wilted spears). I even learned that it could make your pee smell (I’ll just direct you to a link about that). Most importantly, however, was how to cook it. Roasted, grilled, steamed. Lemon and butter or cream sauce or simply dressed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs.
Asparagus remains to be one of my favorite vegetables. And with this being the height of its season, I’m enjoying as much of it as I can get.
Oh, and speaking of seasonal ingredients, I have a wonderful giveaway to share with all of you! When I first saw these beautifully constructed produce calendars, I was blown away. Russell, of Chasing Delicious, has a tremendous eye for design and he uses it to create posters that would be perfect in any foodie’s kitchen.
So, Russell has been kind enough to provide a complete set of his 8″ x 10″ “When Are They In Season?” calendars to one very lucky A Thought For Food reader.
To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite way to cook asparagus or another springtime ingredient.
For additional entries, do any of the following (and come back here and leave a comment telling us you’ve completed each task):
Like Chasing Delicious on Facebook
Follow Chasing Delicious on Twitter
Like A Thought For Food on Facebook
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Tweet the following:
“Enter to win some awesome posters by @rvank over at @myfoodthoughts – http://tinyurl.com/73689hs #giveaway”
Official Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Giveaway will end on June 15th 2012 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using random.org. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
1 bunch asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Fresh mozzarella cheese
1 demi-baguette, or your preferred bread, cut in half lengthwise
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread the asparagus and cherry tomatoes across the pan. Drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar and then toss to coat the asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper (approximately 2 teaspoons or so of each). Roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. The asparagus should be browned and tender. If the spears are thicker, they may need to be cooked longer.
Drizzle a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar along the inside of the baguette. Layer the baguette with the mozzarella cheese and then lay in the roasted asparagus and tomatoes.