Asparagus, the Four-Way Veggie

It seems asparagus can come in one of four ways. It can have pencil-thin stems or more asparagusgenerous and less skinny. An additional dimension for asparagus is color. The same asparagus can be cultivated as white or green. The thinner asparagus is thought to be younger and more tender, while others think slender asparagus is dry and lacks flavor.

Green asparagus is considered a treat, but “ordinary.” Western and northern Europeans consider white asparagus choicest. White asparagus is achieved by covering early shoots of the vegetable with soil and allowing them no sunshine. It must also be very fresh and peeled. Sometimes the precious shoots are steamed softly in a glass, vertical pot which permits the delicate tips to stay above the water. Their “edible ivory” delights them when served with Hollandaise sauce and boiled potatoes. North Americans have always been less keen on the white stuff but eagerly looked forward to each spring crop of the more ordinary green asparagus, fat stems as well as thin. Fat, thin, white or green asparagus has fans in all cultures. Continue reading


Not only do we have the 2011 gift of the Mark Bittman’s latest Asparagus Matrix, ow titled, “Asparagus Chart,” but he has also made available, his list of 13 years’ of asparagus recipes in the New York Times.

Asparagus is a wonderful sign of spring, even if we can get it most all year now. We used to have only “fat” asparagus offered to us which meant quite tough lower ends. Gradually they bred narrower and narrower asparagus, and we sought only the slimmest for “tenderness’” sake. Continue reading