After tulips, asparagus is the first sign that spring has arrived in Connecticut, where I live. In fact, we are home to the largest asparagus farm in New England, so once these gorgeous, deep green and purple-tinged stalks start to grow, we take the opportunity to enjoy them in many dishes. Roasted asparagus makes a lovely first coarse to any spring meal. It’s rich in vitamins A and C and fiber. Look for deep green stalks with tight, purple tinged tips. The thickness of the asparagus has to do with the age of the plant and has no bearing on the tenderness. Big, thick asparagus stalks are from mature plants and thin ones are from younger plants, so let your personal taste dictate.
As soon as you get home, wrap a moistened paper towel around the cut ends of the stalks. Place a paper bag over the tops. Refrigerate the asparagus. Proper storage and cooking within a few days will help to preserve the asparagus spears’ natural sugars and prevent the dryness that leads to toughness. Before cooking, rinse the spears well, especially the tight tips because asparagus is grown in sandy soil.
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