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By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Skinny Legs, Like I Always Wanted

Uploaded: Mar 19, 2015

Continuing to honor vegetables of distinction, today we give thanks for the return of spring Friday, and the savory shift it brings. Strawberries, artichokes, fava beans, radish, peas, and green garlic all return in glory, with a special shout-out to asparagus in today's starring role of this delicious rat pack of flavor and crunch.

photo by Christine Krieg

Once you break off the woody bottom (which always seems to magically break in the right place), leave the spears whole or cut them. A unique slice, one where eaters may not even know what vegetable they are eating, is coins; cut each spear crosswise into ¼" ? ½" pieces, leaving the tip a little longer. Sprinkle with salt and a little cumin, garlic or onion powder, turmeric, garam masala, lemon pepper, Sriracha, hoison - whatever your favorite spice or liquid seasoning. EZ Seasoning really needs no more than this.

Since asparagus waits for no one ? please don't overcook. Sauté and grill only a few minutes over high heat until bright green, or roast at 400°F 5 minute of so, shaking the pan a few times while it cooks.

Lucky for us, asparagus has two crops a year, one in the early spring, and one in the late summer / fall. I look forward to the second crop best because "they got skinny legs, like I always wanted. " Pick up whole and slide into your mouth like crispy straws.

Sometimes forks are overrated.

Asparagus Coins with Wine Soaked Sun-dried Tomatoes
Use these marinated tomatoes with any seasonal vegetable you have on hand.
Serves 4

6 oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes
¼ cup red wine (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Chop the tomatoes into a small dice. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes with the red wine and let marinate at least ½ hour (they can marinate in the refrigerator for up to a couple weeks.) Slice the asparagus spears horizontally into ¼ - ½-inch "coins," leaving the asparagus tips at about 1 ½ - 2-inchs in length. Preheat a large sauté pan to medium high heat. Add oil and asparagus and sauté until bright green, but a little brown (caramelized) around the edges about 4-5 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the wine and add to the skillet. Add basil, stir and serve.

photo by Laura Stec

"Not naive," Conch shell corrected him. "He simply has not been taught to fear the things (some) fear." ― Tom Robbins, Skinny Legs and All

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Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Mar 19, 2015 at 8:25 am

What? No comment on the after-effects of asparagus? My husband and I always giggle after asparagus night at our house. But, we *love* asparagus.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Mar 19, 2015 at 8:33 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Ah yes RW! Should we call that "aspara-gas?"

Posted by NW Resident, a resident of North Whisman,
on Mar 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

Until reading this column, I had never heard the term "coins" used in this way, but now I understand it. A previous column with the Sriracha stir fry chicken recipe also calls for asparagus coins, but I ten to cut them to more like an inch long. I'll have to try this new recipe too.

As as aside, I recently saw an article mentioning that the inventor of Sriracha sauce never trademarked the name, which is why we see it used on menus of some of the big chain restaurants.

Web Link

Posted by A Single Guy, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Mar 19, 2015 at 5:22 pm

I *love* asparagus; I prefer mine very plain, to savor the natural flavor of the vegetable, unencumbered by a lot of spices or seasonings. In the past I've pan fried, sauteed/stir fried, grilled, etc.

These days, I just boil in salted water, then shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking and preserve the color. I prefer my asparagus tender, a paring knife should go through the stalk with little resistance.

Sometimes I enjoy with a little lemon mayo, butter, or a soy sauce/mustard dipping sauce, but most times, I just eat the spears plain. They're great little snacks.

Occasionally, I will cut them into 1" quills (like penne pasta). If the stalks are fat, you can cut the quills lengthwise for a pretty presentation.

I'm a farmers market shopper, so I am thrilled when asparagus show up at the Zuckermans table in March every year.

Posted by Tender Tip, a resident of Castro City,
on Mar 20, 2015 at 6:08 am

One of the great Jack Nicholson scenes from the Movie Wolf.
You can You tube it. After jack "Marks his territory" on James Spader's shoes at the urinal:
Spader: Nice...real nice...suede shoes!"
Jack: Asparagus.

Posted by really?, a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Mar 20, 2015 at 12:42 pm

really? is a registered user.

The best thing for Asparagus (grilled or otherwise), is one of the infused oils from Sigona's such as lime or meyer lemon. And then maybe some roasted almond slivers and parma.


Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Mar 20, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I love all these simple ideas. Thank you everyone! And interesting NW about Sriracha - who knew?

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