Spring is on hold for yet another day here; what's with this chilly 26°with snow on the ground, and it's still coming down...
Whatever, it's that time of year ~ Springtime! ~ and asparagus is popping up all over, especially at the grocery store!
Most of the time, Bill and I like it steamed with a little salt and pepper, nothing more or roasted. Then other times, that all takes a back seat to my creamed asparagus.
Asparagus has been cultivated for thousands of years, and used as a medicinal vegetable for 2,500 years. It’s a member of the lily family and even said to be related to onions, leeks, and garlic, yet the taste and appearance bears no resemblance to the aforementioned.
It’s a nutrient-dense vegetable that is a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A , C and E, and is high in folic acid also. Packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, asparagus benefits your heart, digestion, bones and cell growth. Plus... It can help you meet your weight-loss goals, and boost your mood.
On the downside, if you've ever noticed a strange, unpleasant scent coming from your urine after eating asparagus, you’re not the only one. Even Benjamin Franklin mentioned that in his 1781 letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels that “A few Stems of Asparagus eaten, shall give our Urine a disagreeable Odour” (his way of convincing the academy to discover some Drug that shall render the natural Discharges of Wind from our Bodies, to not be offensive.)
According to Smithsonian magazine, asparagus is the only food to contain the chemical asparaguisic acid. When this aptly named chemical is digested, it breaks down into sulfur-containing compounds, which can have a strong unpleasant scent. All these molecules are also volatile, meaning they can vaporize and enter the air and your nose. However, asparaguisic acid is not volatile, so asparagus itself does not have the same rotten smell.
|A commercial asparagus production field in Oceana County, Michigan, USA during the growing season.|
The top asparagus-producing states are Michigan, Washington, and California. It grows from a crown that is planted a food deep in sandy soils. Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10-inches in 24 hours.
After harvesting is done, the spears grow into ferns which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy, productive crop the next season. A well-cared for asparagus bed will generally produce for about 15 years without being replanted.
The best thing about asparagus is its unique taste. The flavor is a mild, distinct taste, reminiscent of broccoli or green beans with an undertone of an earthy grass flavor with some bitterness. However it’s prepared, it’s delicious...
|Bring to a low boil|
You most likely already know this: the easiest way to prepare asparagus for cooking is to snap off the dry, straw like end wherever it want to snap. Some cooks, do as my mother-in-law did, pare the woody part off the ends, and cook it.
Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water. Now, make a roux with butter and flour in a large skillet. Stir it over low heat for a minute or two so the flour cooks and there is none of that "flour-y” taste. Slowly, add milk or cream, stirring constantly. Add a little salt and pepper, paprika and dry mustard for seasoning, toss in the asparagus and heat it through.
Spoon it over toast, top it with a hard-boiled egg slice and Voila ~ I’m telling you, this is a perfect heavenly little delicious dish...
It’s like a is feast for us!
I’m sure I could eat this for breakfast, with a slice or two of crisp bacon and a cup of robust black coffee! Umm, mmmm!!!
CREAMED ASPARAGUS and EGGS ON TOAST
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½-inch slices
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1½ cups light or heavy cream, or half and half, or whole milk
½ teaspoon Hungarian paprika
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and white pepper, to taste
3 or 4 slices toasted bread
2 hard-boiled large eggs, sliced
Cook asparagus in salted water until tender, not mushy. Drain well, keep warm.
Meanwhile, make a roux: Melt butter in a large skillet.
Add flour, stirring and cooking for a minute or 2, so there’s no floury taste.
Gradually stir in cream and whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and just starts to boil.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika and dry mustard.
Add asparagus and heat through.
Serve on toast and top with a slice of hard-cooked egg.