Asparagus has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius's 3rd century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. (reprinted from Wikipedia).
I just discovered this tasty gem a few years ago when Greg's sister-in-law took a chance and gave us some fresh spears from her garden. I went ahead and roasted them on the grill, and a new love was born. I had eaten asparagus one other time in my life, but it was mushy and disgusting, and I carried that bad memory with me since childhood.
Of course it's best fresh, and we're in the peak of the season right now. Tonight I tried this recipe that came to me via Kalyn's Kitchen, but is from Simply Recipes.
The asparagus was cooked perfectly - tender and crisp. The lemon added a nice hint of zing. Yum!
I have purchased some asparagus to plant in my own yard - hopefully in a couple of years I'll be able to share my bounty, too!
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb
2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest - freshly grated lemon rind
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.
2 Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water.
While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.
Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it's important to make sure they are of the highest quality.