Sprung

Sprung_030

Maybe
we’ll have spring after all.

It
wasn’t looking good. The leaves got blasted
on our Japanese maple, the daffodils are in tatters and there will be no fruit
from the fragrant white blossoms that exploded with such promise just
a few weeks ago. 

Like
much of the country, we’ve had a cold snap that has hung on and on, spelling
disaster for area farmers and local gardeners. I was about to despair of getting any asparagus out of our garden at all
this year.

Asparagus
is a perennial – keeps coming back with almost no care, which is about how much
we give it these busy days. I am so fond
of asparagus that we planted 50 crowns of the stuff about 10 years ago even though
there are only two of us. The dogs like
it too, running to the sink when they hear me snapping off the asparagus
butts. I know I should save those tough
ends for soup, but somehow there are never any left.

After
ten years our asparagus still comes back as abundantly as ever. Until this year,
anyway. It started to come up on
schedule a few weeks ago and then, zap. A hard freeze in early April.  The
asparagus languished, and so did I, in a kind of pre-spring limbo.

So
I’ve been keeping a close watch, peering through the weeds (I mentioned the “no
care” part, didn’t I?), waiting for the tightly budded purple heads to start poking
up through the soil again.

Finally,
the other day, there they were. Now, once they get going the garden is a place
of asparagus madness, the willowy green shoots springing up overnight, faster
than we can eat them. But at the start of
the season, especially a cold one like this, they…grow…very…slowly.

I
should wait, I know I should, but today I got impatient and cut a bunch of them
off short. Ate a couple in the garden,
brushing off the mud and grit, just to get a quick fix, and then brought the
rest in for dinner.

Fresh
asparagus is just a total joy. Grassy,
green, with a faint, faint hint of spring onion, more a like a memory than a
taste, it is a mouthful of sweet April (even if it can make your pee smell like a skunk).

Since there’s not much, I am going to slice them
into short pieces, sauté them in butter, salt and pepper, sprinkle with a tiny
bit of chardonnay vinegar and toss them with pasta, a variation of the Curly
Pasta with Sautéed Asparagus here.

Simple and perfect. Spring on a plate.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lydia says:

    I am green with envy! We’re still a couple of weeks away from garden-fresh asparagus here in RI….

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  2. Thought of you last night as we ate a fabulous meal at Cyrus in Healdsburg. The amuse bouche was an asparagus tartare that was absolutely fabulous.

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  3. Susan says:

    How beautiful,vibrant and healthy those stalks are. It’s not easy getting that quality commercially. You are very lucky to have a home harvest, however meager it is right now.

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  4. Mary says:

    Gorgeous photo. I adore asparagus and I’m so happy it’s (finally) in season. Enjoy your harvest!

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  5. Larry says:

    I kept checking and thought you moved to Austin (wouldn’t blame you). And then you sneak right by my house (close to Crystal River) and you could have brought me some shrimp from Appalach!!
    Next time I am cooking with lard, I will smile and think “bacon is an honorary vegetable” – love it.
    I can’t even comprehend cooking for 32 people – WOW!
    Sounds like you had a good trip – sorry I didn’t get a chance to say “hi” in person.
    And thanks, I thought I was the last one out there to make the no-knead bread!!

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  6. Ah, but Lydia, it’s all still before you. Anticipation is half the fun.
    Asparagus tartare? Can’t wait to hear about the whole meal, Ron.
    Very lucky, I know, Susan. Store bought is nothing like it.
    Thanks, Mary! You enjoy too!
    That’s a lot of catching up, Larry! Nice to see you here again.

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  7. I’m suffering from serious garden envy. I don’t know if I have a green thumb or not but I’ve been thinking a lot about city life and the disconnect from fresh, local food. And I love the image of you so impatient for a taste that you just wipe off the dirt and start eating!

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  8. That looks good enough to ALMOST make me want to eat Asparagus.

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  9. Yeah, but Lisa, you do get grit in our teeth. Worth it, though.
    Hank, you are kidding, right? Please tell me you are kidding. Have you ever tried really fresh asparagus?

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  10. Kalyn says:

    What a great photo of the asparagus. I believe it must be the perfect food!

    Like

  11. I promise that I will “endeavor” to “try” to try some. No sunsets on this promise.

    Like

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