The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


May 1, 2013

Amanda Stone: Asparagus nourished by warmer weather

JOPLIN, Mo. — Spring has finally sprung around here -- at least for now. With that comes asparagus, shooting up overnight, aiming its pointy head toward the sky.

It simply doesn't get the recognition it deserves. It's green. It's skinny. It has a weird, pointy head.

Despite its physical description, asparagus has lots to offer our bodies and our palettes. It's full of fiber and antioxidants and has vitamins galore. And it's yummy, to boot.

Because asparagus is splendidly perennial, it's popping up right now with no effort on your part. If you don't have asparagus in your garden, go to the farmers market.

I was fortunate enough to have a friend with an unruly asparagus patch that needed harvested. I was so happy to oblige. The beauty of asparagus is that it grows fast and furious: A couple of days after I snapped off a bag full of stalks, there were more popping up already.

But then it's gone, and we have to shop for it the grocery store again. Sigh.

When snapped off at the base and eaten raw, asparagus is crunchy with a pleasant, fresh flavor. Don't shun asparagus from your raw vegetable repertoire. Add it to your fresh vegetable platter and dip it. Or chop it into bite-size pieces and toss it in a salad.

However, if your asparagus bends rather than snaps, you're better off cooking it. Asparagus is tasty any way it's cooked: grilled, sautŽed, steamed, roasted or used in soup -- asparagus stands tall however you choose to prepare it.

My favorite way to eat asparagus is super simple, which surely influences why I love it so much. I sautŽ chopped asparagus with a couple of pieces of crumbled bacon, then add Dijon mustard and fresh parsley. It takes a few minutes to prepare, and it tastes fresh and amazing.

And it has bacon. You know you love bacon.

If you love asparagus, you should plant some. Take time when considering a location; your asparagus patch will be with you for decades. Choose a sunny spot that won't get tilled up with the rest of your garden.

Try the following recipes with your fresh asparagus finds.


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