The season for fresh asparagus in North America is from March or early April until late June.
Asparagus is obtainable in the grocery stores practically all year. Out of season, it is imported from Mexico, Chile and Peru.
A good supply of homegrown asparagus is available right now in our supermarkets and gourmet food stores at bargain prices.
Asparagus has a high natural sugar content, and soon after harvesting this sugar turns to starch, causing the spears to lose their ‘snap,’ moisture and fresh flavor. That is why asparagus from local growers is considered a springtime treat.
Fresh asparagus takes only minutes to cook. It is a rich source of anti-oxidants and is high in potassium, thiamin and fiber. It contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium. Six spears contain only 25 calories.
1 pound fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Place the asparagus spears in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to lightly oiled grill pan and grill for four minutes. Turn and grill for another four minutes, until asparagus is fork tender. Serve immediately.
Asparagus with red and yellow peppers
1 pound asparagus spears
1 and a half tablespoons good
quality olive oil
2 medium yellow bell peppers cut into thin strips
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Trim the asparagus to 3 to 4 inch in length
Cook in a medium saucepan in boiling water until just tender, about three minutes. Drain, set aside.
In a fairly large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper strips. Cook until vegetables are barely tender. Add asparagus. Cook until all vegetables are heated through, about two minutes. Add butter, and season with salt and pepper.
Mary Elizabeth Evans teaches cooking classes at Pima Community College and through her company Teascompany at www.teascompany.net.