Get Them Before They Go - Asparagus

(Get Them Before They Go: In this series we feature a seasonal produce or fruit our family is thoroughly enjoying these days. Infact we are enjoying it so much that we think it deserves you opening another tab of your browser right now and finding out your nearest farmer's market to visit (or a local CSA or a seasonal grocer)! 

We at G&G believe in simple & quick recipes with local and seasonal produce made with care for family dinner tables. Not only you will be enjoying fresh bounties of the nature without the preservatives and 1000s of food miles, you will also be helping the local farmer's ecosystem and sustainable growing. And seasonal vegetables picked hours before just taste so much better - you got to try it to believe! So.. get them before they go)

Spring is the season for Asparagus. Last weekend I saw first asparagus shop sprouted up in our farmer's market and bought my first bunch of asparagus for the season. While you can find asparagus year around in supermarkets, they are there only for about 5-6 weeks in farmer's markets starting about now in early spring.

When buying asparagus look for tender stocks; I feel the tender once are more packed in flavor and have fewer tough ends.
Roasted Asparagus seasoned with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Chilli  flakes and Lemon juice
I learnt a trick to avoid cooking with tough ends - you hold an asparagus, one end in one hand each. Bend lightly until it snaps on it's own. The place where it snaps is the general place you should chop off rest of the asparagus of that bunch so you get the soft flesh and not the hard ends. Don't through away the hard ends however, they are great to make a stock or grate and use in frittattas.

Asparagus is a well-known vegetable in US so there are abundant recipes of asparagus on internet. I'll list here some of my favorite ways to cook asparagus.

1) Roasted Asparagus wih Salt, Pepper, Chili flakes and Lemon
This is my most favorite way of eating asparagus. Prepapre them by chopping tough ends (see abov). Drizzle with olive oil, coarse salt, chilli paper flakes and pepper. Roast in 400F oven for about 15-20mins so they crunchy but soft inside. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon juice, serve hot as a side.

Note: you can play with oven temps and cooking times or turning broiler on for last 2 minutes if you like them browned.

2) Grilled asparagus

3) Steamed and sauteed

4) Chopped asparagus in noodle dishes such as Lo Mein or Soba

5) Asparagus can be a nice substitute to cauliflowers in masale bhat (Indian spiced rice).

Whichever way you like them, make sure you don't loose them out this season!