We are slap bang in the middle of the English asparagus season and I am whooping it up. I don't know if it's possible to be in love with a particular vegetable, but I have a serious crush going on with this one. I can't get enough of it, crave it, delight in buying it , cooking it, and most of all eating it. As my friend Clairey would say, it is Seriously Divine. Ravishing even.
We are very lucky in the town where I live to have a market on four days a week, and one of the stalls that is always there is the fruit and veg stall. I like that the produce is always very fresh, tasty and often local. And that they still use brown paper bags. There's something very satisfying about coming home from town with my shopping bag full of bulging paper bags of produce.
I am eating asparagus almost every day whilst its in season :: sometimes with dinner, sometimes just a plate of it for my lunch. I like the simple approach to cooking it and eating it. I put the spears in a metal colander over a pan of boiling water and steam it for seven minutes (slightly less if the spears are thin).
As soon as it's cooked it goes onto a plate, then a liberal dash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, freshly grated parmesan, salt and black pepper. Eat immediately with fingers. Mmmmmmmmmm...the cheese/oil/lemon kind of melt together to make a delicious paste which goes beautifully with the asparagus, you have to try it.
Sometimes I griddle the asparagus instead of steaming it :: just toss the spears in olive oil, salt and pepper, then put them onto a hot griddle until lightly charred. To be honest I think it tastes better cooked this way, but I hate having to wash the griddle pan afterwards, so steaming it nearly always is. I am such a lazy mare. Oh Asparagus, I do love you so.