I’ve had an on again, off again relationship with asparagus. When I was a toddler, I am told that I couldn’t jam it in fast enough. Had to have it in both hands to keep the incoming stream steady. Then as my mom tells it, one day I actually took a breath and looked up and realized that the brother and sister I looked up to were not eating it. Were actually disgusted by it. Thus the end of my love of asparagus.
I don’t remember when asparagus and I picked it up again. Maybe I was at a dinner party and I didn’t want to be rude so I politely took some on my plate? Maybe a cook I admire presented it to me? It doesn’t really matter when we were reintroduced – just that we’ve been back together now for some time.
When the air is cool and the daylight limited, I love to spend time in the kitchen cooking big elaborate meals that fill the house with warmth and good smells. It’s fun to make complicated food then. But when the temperatures rise and the sun wants to hang out well into the evening, my attitude towards food changes. Get really fresh, in-season produce, and let it shine. Keep it simple.
Asparagus is one of the first things to hit the farmer’s market and one of my favorite ways to prepare it is to wash and trim off the ends (if the stalks are large, sometimes I will peel them) and place in a shallow baking dish. To this I add olive oil, soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Toss to evenly coat and then let sit while the rest of dinner is being prepared. I’ll put the asparagus on the grill just as I’m taking the protein off as the time it takes the meat to rest, is the perfect amount of time to get a light char on the asparagus while keeping the crunchy texture. Place on a serving plate, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and a grind of fresh black pepper, and viola!
It’s amazing how far a K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) will go!