Summer weather seems to be arriving late in Colorado this year and our staff is chomping at the bit to get outside for lunch in the garden. Unfortunately, midday thunderstorms are preventing dining alfresco and outdoor-grilling our most prized spring vegetable, asparagus.
Legion has it that asparagus was used by ancient Romans as a spring herbal tonic to flush the kidneys after long winters.
This is not surprising since it’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, K, the B vitamins and folate. It also includes minerals, copper, selenium, manganese, potassium phosphorus, and zinc.
Asparagus is also a fantastic source of natural dietary fiber.
One of my most favorite indoor ways to prepare asparagus is to simply braise it quickly with a dash of olive oil, sea salt, fresh rosemary sprigs and a couple of fresh or dried bay leaves.
These particular herbs are always available to those who live in California since rosemary grows year round in most every garden and there is a bay laurel on every block since it’s the state tree. Not so much in Colorado since there are no bay laurel trees and our rosemary is grown in pots during our short summer months because it doesn’t winter-over well at altitude.
A major adjustment for me when moving from San Francisco to Colorado was missing the scent of eucalyptus and rosemary on my early morning walks.
Asparagus with Rosemary and Bay for Four
One large bunch of spring asparagus
One tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
One teaspoon sea salt
Two large sprigs fresh rosemary
Two bay leaves, hopefully fresh but dried will do.
Rinse asparagus and trim the stalks from the spot where they start to get tough. I use the trimmer below and I promise it makes a big difference because trimmed asparagus bottoms cook as quickly as the tops.
Layer in a skillet the asparagus, olive oil, salt, rosemary and bay leaves.
Sprinkle with several tablespoons of cold water and cover.
Cook over high heat just until the oil and water begins to sizzle.
Lower the heat and braise no more than six to nine minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Check often so you don’t overcook. It’s best when it’s still slightly crisp.
Remove to serving platter and drizzle with a small amount of fresh lime or lemon juice to brighten the flavors.
Ellen Troyer and the Biosyntrx staff
National Asparagus Month is in May of every year.