Asparagus is now available year-round as an import but there’s nothing to beat the flavour of freshly picked homegrown asparagus, in season in late spring. Green asparagus is usually grown in the UK while the French and Italians prefer a fatter white variety. Very young, slender green shoots are known as sprue and are often sold more cheaply – a bonus for the cook. When buying, look for firm spears with tightly closed tips and no wrinkles. To prepare, trim each spear by snapping off the white woody part, then peel away the skin from the base towards the top. The amount you will need to remove depends upon the quality and freshness of the asparagus; thin varieties may only need trimming.
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