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On Seasonality & Asparagus (With an Egg)

October 15, 2006

Asparagus and Egg

Living in Florida messes with my sense of the seasons. When I lived in Ohio, if I saw strawberries in January I knew without a doubt that they were from somewhere far away, trucked in with great expenditure of fossil fuels. Our fields were bound with ice and snow for at least 300 miles in every direction. But in Florida, strawberries are actually in season in January, and a trip to the Plant City U-Pick fields is the thing to do.

So now, when I see asparagus, that sweet spring treat, at the produce market in October, I hesitate briefly, then take advantage of my ignorance of sub-sub-tropical growing cycles to shrug off my guilt about eating something that is so likely out of season. My ignorance makes seasonal produce shopping rather difficult, on the whole; we're on an inverted timetable down here.

All that to say, I don't want to ask you to violate your conscience with this recipe for asparagus with egg. I realize that asparagus is probably even more blatantly out of season wherever you are. It's such an easy dinner, though, that you might be tempted to buy some very, very out-of-state produce. The twist, fortunately, is that this is equally good with other, more seasonable vegetables. Stir-fried chard with soy sauce? Excellent. Shaved, sautéed zucchini? Definitely. You see? You don't have to violate your principles!

Oh, and the tomatoes truly are in season here. I sliced them up, dribbled some yogurt over the top and sprinkled salt, pepper, and a little rough sugar over them. This soaked in and was quite delicious next to the salty, tangy asparagus.

Parmesan Asparagus with a Spanish-Fried Egg

Roasted Asparagus
1 bundle of asparagus (about 1 pound)
Olive oil
1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
About 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375ºF. Wash the asparagus and dry thoroughly. Snap off the tough ends. Toss with some olive oil in a glass baking dish and arrange in single layer.

In a medium bowl mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, herbs, and salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the asparagus. Put in the oven for about 10 minutes. Check for your desired crispness, though, depending on how thick the asparagus are this time could vary wildly.

Spanish-Fried Egg
Olive oil
1 egg
Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Put a small, heavy skillet over high heat and pour in olive oil to about half an inch. Heat until it is very, very hot. Crack the egg into a cup and slip it into the hot oil. It will immediately bubble around the edges. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the top. Leave in the oil for about a minute, then carefully remove from the heat, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and place on top of the asparagus.

Posted by Faith at 15 October 2006

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Mmm. I have no such compunctions about good asparagus. I have had them frozen where they compare to fresh, and when it's been a while since you've had asparagus fresh from the garden, the un-local stuff is still a treat. And then when the REAL asparagus comes in you realize why you love asparagus season.

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