Saturday, 8 May 2010
Asparagus will never be the same again!
Woe is me! Why you might ask? Well it's because I've tasted perfection and now nothing else will do.
Growing up in South Africa I only knew of one kind of asparagus and that was tinned. My Gran used to open up a tin, drain out the brine and serve it as a side dish along with cold meats, homemade potato salad and a mixed salad made with iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber [always those three ingredients and nothing else]. I do wonder why, when most things grow in abundance in S.A, we didn't EVER see fresh asparagus in the shops. Maybe the same reason we ate tinned fruit cocktail with Ideal Milk for dessert. Fighting over who got the solitary squishy, pink "cherry" was obligatory. This was the 70's after all.
The first time I ever tasted fresh asparagus I was around 32. There used to be stalls selling fruit and vege in Oxford St. and they used to sell a bunch for £1 in a brown paper bag. I wasn't too sure what to do with it and decided to boil the whole spears for a few minutes. I then squirted on some lemon juice and dipped them into Hellmans Mayonnaise. Very yummy they were too and my love affair with fresh asparagus began.
I've always suspected that even British grown asparagus was never very fresh by the time they reached the supermarket shelf and then I read somewhere that the only way to eat asparagus was to cut them and eat them right away. Not something I could do living in a flat in London.
Last week I spied some nice looking asparagus in the supermarket and bought two bunches. Only to find when I got home that they were from Peru! If I'd been more observant I wouldn't have bought them. They proved to be quite nice, so I had steamed asparagus for dinner two nights on the trot.
Last weekend I was looking after my neighbour's chickens while they were away and they mentioned they had some asparagus coming up in their veggie patch and that I should help myself, otherwise they may start to flower and then be woody and wasted. So I cut three sturdy spears [only three ..... sniff] and immediately put them in my steamer. I did my usual and ate them with Hellmans Mayonnaise and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Oh my goodness - the taste! So flavourful and tender - it was like the taste of 20 supermarket spears distilled into one. I will NEVER be able to eat shop bought asparagus again - say it again- woe is me!
Does anyone know how easy it is to grow and if it's possible to grow them in grow bags?
Speaking of growing - my mixed salad leaves have sprouted and my french beans are turning into baby bean stalks. Very exciting for a complete novice.
Labels: growing stuff