Asparagus II

Through a chilly, damp spring the asparagus continues to show up at the market slowly expanding its presence at an increasing number of farm stands.  Some bundles are plump and bunchy, others tight groups of slender stalks.  This diversity of shapes allows you to pick the right asparagus for your recipe.

Warming up the grill?  Go with the meatier looking stalks.  Baking a quiche?  The lithe stalks will leave more room for other ingredients and cook faster.  Blanching is another option that makes no distinction between svelte or stout beyond cooking time. Once cooled from their icy plunge in the ice bath post blanch the asparagus is ready for numerous applications whether it is simply snacking, dipping, or tempura frying.

Blanched asparagus are particularly delicious when tossed with a lemon tahini vinaigrette with burrata or wafer thin slices of pecorino over grilled sourdough bread.  Finish with a peppery olive oil and roughly chopped fresh herbs.  Have a bright young Beaujolais or Rosso di Montalcino on hand to complete the effect.

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