Asparagus has been eaten and enjoyed for more than two millenia; it was a favorite in Rome. When is completely fresh, young and tender it is a culinary delight; sweet, crunchy, nutty, vegetal. By the time it gets to your grocer it has lost some of its charm. Too often, by the time it is cooked much of the crunch is gone and it's the odd and nasty flavors that remain.
But if you can find really nice, fresh, crunchy asparagus at a supermarket or produce store, grab it and run. Run home as fast as you can. Make a sauce and steam your asparagus. Or grill it. Do it now before the asparagus gets a minute older. And you will enjoy one of nature's most unique and delicious green vegetables. Fresh asparagus prepared well makes a superior side dish or salad ingredient.
Frozen asparagus can be a good substitute for fresh. Freezing saps it of its crunch, but asparagus that has been frozen can have good flavor. It is a tasty addition to a meal heated and served with butter. And if you are making soups or fritatas or dishes where crunchiness is distracting, frozen asparagus might actually be a better choice since, presumably, it was frozen at the peak of its flavor.
Asparagus is not especially difficult to grow, although it takes quite a large stand to produce adequate quantities for even a small family. Once you've eaten your own fresh-grown asparagus, you will understand what the big deal is about. Fresh asparagus is a great culinary treat.
Copyright S.R. Brubaker 2002 - 2006.