Worth waiting for

In the days leading up to our departure from NYC, Mike and I were keeping a very close eye on Lucy’s Greenmarket Report to monitor the anticipated arrival of asparagus at Union Square. We were hoping we could get our hands on some before the move, and one recent day we mentioned our asparagus watch on Twitter. One friend was a little confused as to why we were making such a fuss – after all, asparagus is in supermarkets year-round, isn’t it? She’s right, of course, but as Mike replied to her with a smile, “we’re snobby locavores.”

Now, I don’t know about the “snobby” part (and I’d hope we’re not actually snobs), but the whole exchange really made me realize how much our way of eating has changed over the last couple of years. Buying supermarket asparagus doesn’t even occur to me anymore, even in the dead of winter when I’m desperate for it. It just tastes better in the springtime, when it’s in season and grown close to home, and I’m happy to wait for it and then indulge until I can’t bear looking at another fat green stalk.

Dinner:  April 28, 2008

Though we moved away before our favorite New York area farmers brought their asparagus to market, we scored a big bag of Rhode Island asparagus at the market at AS220 on Saturday. I pulled out the thickest ones for grilling Saturday evening, figuring I’d save the rest for a meatless Monday dinner. By Monday evening, the warm, sunny weather we enjoyed all weekend had turned to wind and rain, so something rich and creamy was in order.

I chopped up my remaining asparagus spears and some fresh chanterelles (sorry, not local), and sauteed them in a bit of butter. I seasoned them with fresh thyme and gently stirred them into a pot of my basic risotto, adding about half a cup of creme fraiche and some finely grated Pecorino Romano off the heat to finish the dish.

The mushrooms were a lovely foil for the crisp-tender asparagus, and the risotto was a wonderful carrier for both. As the weather warms up and asparagus season continues, I look forward to lighter and simpler preparations, but this was a fine way to renew my acquaintance with an old friend.

(Interesting reading on local asparagus here.)

13 thoughts on “Worth waiting for

  1. Sara says:

    Looks delicious! I’m glad to see you back. I look forward to hearing your impressions of Providence. I love AS220!

  2. I totally agree about how eating locally and seasonally can totally change your life! We’ve been doing it now for almost a year and it has not posed a problem yet. I have loved everything that I’ve been preparing and buying (as locally as I can in Nashville, TN) and have learned so much! We are about to start our first organic CSA this summer and are looking forward to getting bushels of fresh local produce all summer and fall. I, too, went nuts as soon as the asparagus became available. It’s such a treat to wait and be rewarded by it’s Spring time pefection.
    I’ll keep checking in. Good luck with your new home, Providence must be really cool…

  3. Jennifer! I’ve been horribly remiss in not checking in with you. I’d just assumed you were still in the throes of the move and wouldn’t be posting. Silly me. Well, now I’m all caught up. Congrats on the fabulous new kitchen, already delving into the local farmers market and posting lots of delicious food from your new home.

    Most of all, congratulations and great good wishes for you and Mike on your next big adventure together.

  4. Gail M. says:

    How nice to have you back! Eating fresh spring veggies really feels like a celebration to me. There’s something about eating food in it’s own time/season that makes it seem so special and fun!

  5. I know just what you mean about changing the way you buy food. and if that’s snobby, well… *shrug*

    I love using mushrooms and asparagus in risotto as well; it’s about the only way I make it. yours looks like exactly what I want for lunch right now.

    hope all is well~

  6. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi, everyone! Thanks for all of your good wishes! It has been a crazy week, and I’m still trying to get into some sort of routine, but hopefully things will settle down soon. I’ve missed you guys!

  7. I totally agree, there is no point eating out of season asparagus, it’s nutritionally void and almost completely tasteless. I too am a locavore, although hopefully not a snobby one!

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