Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Raw Asparagus Food Movement

Eat Seasonal Food

I confess that there are years where I have tired of asparagus. The mantra of the seasonal eater is to gorge for the time being then forgetaboutit. This year it seems that we have not so much gorged on asparagus as maintained a steady path. A reason for this, I know, is that the cool and the rains of this year's spring delayed the crop. Last year, we were getting Genesis Growers Illinois asparagus by late April, so you could see how I could tire of it by June. This year, asparagus did not really get flowing until Mid-May. Another reason for my lack of asparagus ennui is that we have added a new preparation to our repertoire.

Or shall I say, lack of preparation to our repertoire. Asparagus supports a lot of cooking methods. It is equally good roasted, grilled, steamed, boiled or sauteed. None of these methods are especially difficult. Yet, how often are we avoiding these for the easiest method of all. No method. Raw. I think a lot of chefs, especially, looked at the deep purple asparagus found in the farmer's markets--Michigan farmers Stovers and Klug both carry--and said how can we maintain that. It's pretty hard to keep the purple once it's cooked, so the chefs did not cook. No one gagged. If you are afraid raw asparagus will be too tough or stringy, do not worry. When you get asparagus at the local markets the asparagus is not the least bit stringy, only the ends are too tough.

A mandoline or great knife skills can achieve thin slices that really accentuate the contrast between deep purple exterior and bright green interior. It's like a 60's black light poster. Still, if you cut them chunkier you will not lose any taste. Leave them whole and they make nice vehicles for dips. Sliced, use any available dressing, although I would advise you dress on the light side. This is not your wedge of iceberg.

Asparagus will not be around too much longer. Gorge now while you can.

1 comment:

mmorowitz said...

I've been known to go at asparagus spears with a vegetable peeler to make long shavings (like you would with a carrot) and then give these a rough chop for a salad.