It's asparagus season and the internet food world is all a-buzz with asparagus recipes. We love eating plain, sauteed asparagus so much, I am hesitant to try these new versions. What if I don't like it? I'll pretty much grieve for those wasted spears- I will. It doesn't help that Jamey is perfectly content with the plain jane way we make it. But, kind of like with my cheese snobbery, I am trying to push past my insecurities and give some new things a try.
I have a friend, a real-life friend, Jennifer Jo. She's a wonderful person. One of the (many) things that make her wonderful is her ability to scour cookbooks, online foodie blogs, relatives, friends, the whole world (actually, I think) to find recipes. Once she finds them, she wrestles with them. Literally, I believe. She makes them, tweaks them, files them away, pulls them back out, tweaks them and wrestles with them some more. Why is this so wonderful? Because it means I don't have to! All I have to do is pay her a visit, see what she's cooking (or, more often, baking) and come away with a recipe I know is tried and true.
This is a really round-about way to tell you what I didn't know was possible. Sorry. What I didn't know was possible (and learned is indeed possible, from Jennifer Jo) is that asparagus can be eaten raw. Okay, I know your Great Uncle Linus or mother-in-law or someone else you know probably munches on the raw variety now and again (Jamey does as he's bringing it in), but I mean actually make a recipe, a dish, that calls for raw asparagus. Well, I'll be. It's possible and it's good.
I followed Jennifer Jo's Asparagus Walnut Salad recipe to the letter. What came together was gorgeous. You should consider making this just to look at it. I let it marinate a few hours and tasted it. It was good. I didn't fall over or anything, but with each additional bite I became smitten. Part of what I loved about it (aside from the fresh parmesan cheese, oh my) was that I was eating raw asparagus. Raw!
In addition to tasting like asparagus, both Jamey and I detected something familiar in the way the raw vegetable tasted. I finally realized that they taste like fresh, raw peas (to me, yum!) and everything clicked into place for Jamey after I looked up some information about asparagus and read it to him. Asparagus is part of the day lily family and Jamey has eaten, of all things, day lilies in the past. That's what the raw asparagus reminded him of. Go figure, but it makes sense.
So, gone on and tell me that I am the last person on earth to find out you can eat raw asparagus. You won't offend or even surprise me. I'm just glad I learned when I did. If you have some favorite asparagus recipes to share, please do so (either link to your blog or leave the recipe in the comments).
I'm on a roll folks. Stay tuned for more in-season recipes.