It's finally asparagus season, and along with the delectable springtime treat comes the inevitable dilemma of how to select the most tender spears. What it usually boils down to is "What's best? Skinny or fat?" Being a farmer's daughter familiar with the growing habits of asparagus, I thought I'd put in my two cents worth.
(Please pardon me while I climb up on my culinary soapbox.) Fat asparagus has been greatly maligned. Asparagus grows up, not out. Fat asparagus spears are fat when they emerge from the ground. Skinny ones are skinny when they emerge from the ground. "Skinny" does not equal young and tender, just as "fat" does not equal old and tough. Who'd a thunk it? If freshness is equal, the fat spears are actually going to be more tender than the skinny ones! If you're still not convinced, check out this site that has a wealth of information about asparagus. Or better yet, try some for yourself.
Whatever size you choose, look for crisp firm spears. Choose a bunch with spears that are close to the same size so they'll cook uniformly. For the best flavor and nutrient content, cook your fresh asparagus as soon as possible after it is purchased.
Fibonacci spiral pattern the buds make on each spear. I love math. Especially when it's as delicious as asparagus. Speaking of delicious, here's one of my new favorite simple ways to prepare it.
Roast Asparagus Spears
Heat your oven to 425 degrees
Wash asparagus spears in cool water. Break off the tough ends.
Blot your asparagus dry and place in a single layer in a shallow baking dish.
Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until it's as tender as you like it. (I know there are a lot of different opinions about that too, but we'll save that discussion for another day!)
Enjoy your springtime treat!