I did indeed manage to make a quick trip over to the Foggy Bottom farmers’ market yesterday. And there they were, no more than a dozen bunches of bright green asparagus.
The women behind the produce display said the asparagus had been picked that morning. Super fresh! And very reasonable at $4.50 per bunch. Sadly, I realized I only had $5 in cash with me, so I was forced to bypass the great-looking rhubarb and black walnuts and left the market with only the asparagus. But, oh, was the asparagus ever good. I argued recently that pastured eggs, while fabulous, aren’t necessarily as distinct from grocery store eggs as some claim. But this asparagus really was a different experience. First, I ate some raw. The spears were crunchy, yet tender, with no stringiness whatsoever. And they tasted more like fresh English shell peas than like asparagus! It was uncanny. Then for dinner I tried two different cooking methods. For the first method, I took a few spears and did a classic broiled asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
For the second method, I quickly blanched a few more chopped spears and dunked them in icewater to stop the cooking. I topped the pieces with orange muscat champagne vinegar and olive oil.
The roasted asparagus was definitely the better of the two, since the vinegar hid the asparagus flavor too much. So the remaining spears went under the broiler, and that was the end of the bunch. A vendor I talked to on Sunday said that after a few weeks of this, we’ll get tired of eating all this asparagus. I have most certainly NOT hit that point yet.