One of the rock stars of the early spring harvest, asparagus will be in the market any day now, ready to thrill its fans. This herbaceous young shoot has a grassy, mild taste and is traditionally served with Hollandaise sauce, or as in Italy, lightly roasted, cooled and wrapped in prosciutto. It’s also good chopped and served in omelettes, roasted, tossed in a pasta salad, and probably any other way you could think of that involves olive oil and salt. This time of year I like it best in its most simple fashion: steamed and tossed in sweet butter, with sea salt and pepper.
Its steep price might make asparagus seem like a decadent treat, but it’s also a great source of vitamins, K, C and A, and of the B vitamin folate. Choose healthy-looking stalks, thin or thick, and make sure you snap off the woody ends before cooking. Green-phobic children may balk at the essential greenness of asparagus, but they are noticing your enjoyment, and some day they will join in the fun. (The scientifically inclined may be tempted into a taste when they hear about the metabolic action of certain compounds in asparagus that causes, as a child might put it, the “funny pee smell.”) Eat up now; asparagus season is a short and precious time, without an encore in the fall.
More Feeding Your Family for March 2009
- ESSAY: Still Picky, But Getting Better
- RECIPE: Jamaican Dinner
- WHAT'S IN SEASON? Asparagus
- GADGETS & GOODIES...and GIFTS! Cooking Italian with Kids
- HEALTH CHECK: Building a Better Easter Basket