Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spargel Season

When we lived in Germany, we looked forward to the Deutsche Spargelzeit, that is German asparagus season, every year. In Germany and several other European countries, asparagus harvest season is widely celebrated. During this time of year (which roughly runs from mid-April through June), restaurants don't just serve special asparagus dishes - they develop special asparagus menus! That's right. A whole menu dedicated to this spring vegetable. I should mention that their celebrated asparagus is the white variety, something difficult (though not impossible) to come by in our supermarkets. The 3 year growing process of asparagus is something to be celebrated indeed. There is nothing like the spargelsuppe (spargel soup), served up during the special season, from the special menu, in a local German restaurant. Mmmmmm.

So that's how I came to associate asparagus dishes with spring. When I think April, I think asparagus. Since I have yet to brave growing it on my own, I get mine from the supermarket, but I do hope to have it in my own garden some day.

Here is an easy (like less than 10 minutes to prep) roasted asparagus recipe.

Preheat oven to 400, then prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil. You don't need to spray or oil it because the asparagus will have oil on it. The only purpose of the foil is easy clean-up but I think that's reason enough.

Next, rinse and trim 2 pounds of asparagus.

To trim asparagus, you just hold it in 2 hands and snap it. It will break naturally between the woody part and the edible part. I've seen people just trim all the pieces with a knife, which I guess would work too, but this method has always worked for me.

Next, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil over low-medium heat with 6 minced garlic cloves.

 Heat it until it becomes fragrant, just a few minutes.


Next, lay out the asparagus on the tray and drizzle with the oil and garlic. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cayenne pepper (optional). Bake at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Serve with anything for a beautiful spring side dish.

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