Asparagus has to be one of the stranger things we eat. I guess they basically look edible. Either way, they are one of my favorites, and I'm pretty psyched that it's finally their season. Sure, I know you can get fine Chilean asparagus in the depths of winter now, but frankly that's just plain wrong. Not only is it ecologically unsound (think of how many resources were expended to get them here) but I think there are some things that should remain seasonal. Now-a-days the only things that are really seasonal any more are things that don't travel well (cherries being a fabulous example). I think that's unfortunate. It's nice to be able to look forward to a specific time of year when you can eat certain things. Again, cherries are a great example. I anxiously look forward to cherry season every spring (not too much longer) then eat all the cherries I can find for the three or four weeks they are around. I hit all the farmers markets in my town hoping to find some fresh cherries. I especially like the yellow ones like Queen Anne or Ranier, which have an even shorter season than the usual Bings. But when they are here, it's something to get fired up about. Nothin like a big bowl of muesli with fresh cherries for breakfast, with a little vanilla soy milk. The hint of vanilla sets of the cherries (or strawberries for that matter) just perfectly.
Sorry, I realized I started this talking about asparagus. Got a little carried away with the whole cherry thing.
In the last few years, I've switched from steaming asparagus to grilling or broiling them most of the time. I like the way the texture comes out better, and it's harder to turn them to mush that way. I just toss the whole spears with some good olive oil, salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic, then either throw them on the grill or bake them on a cookie sheet. Either way, then they start to wrinkle a bit and get browned and tender, yank 'em out and have at it. Super easy and less time-sensitive than steaming them.
What got me thinking about it was the entree in our cafeteria here at work today. Ancho-grilled pork chops with asparagus and some couscous. It was a great combination. The couscous was done just right, light and fluffy with just enough green onions and tomato to make it interesting but not soggy. Very nice.