Hyde Park, NY – One of the earliest
vegetables to appear each spring is asparagus. In today's marketplace it is
available almost year-round, but truly tender and delicious asparagus is only
found in the spring and preferably grown locally.
Sold by size, based on the thickness of the stalk, this versatile vegetable
can range from colossal or jumbo to standard to small or pencil.
"Look for uniformity in size when you buy a bunch to ensure uniform
cooking times," says CIA Chef Fred Brash. "You also want tight closed tips with
nothing open or seeding, and you'll want to avoid shriveling stalks, or
excessive woodiness at the base."
Asparagus comes in three varieties: green, white, and purple. Green
the most popular in this country. White has always been preferred
Europe and is gaining ground in the United States. Purple is more
rare and is sometimes only found at farm stands. A member of the lily
family, which also includes leeks and garlic, asparagus is highly
nutritious and delicious in many preparations. Some cooks like to
peel it, but generally that is only needed with thicker stalks.
Standard-size asparagus works best for the following recipe adapted
from The Culinary Institute of America
Vegetables cookbook (Lebhar-Friedman, 2007),
available for purchase at bookstores nationwide or online.
Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image
asparagus with mustard herb vinaigrette. (Photo
credit: CIA/Ben Fink)
View hi-res image >
Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit
college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts,
baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs
in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary
college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health &
wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research
and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry
leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini,
Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for
professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of
innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has
campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.
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