One of the most anticipated tastes of spring is the first bite of tender, grassy asparagus.
Even before we realized that asparagus was a culinary treat, people in ancient times used it medicinally. The Greeks used it to treat bee stings and toothaches; Chinese herbalists treated arthritis with dried asparagus-root tea (possibly since its high level of asparagusic acid is a diuretic and can ease swelling).
Thick or thin, asparagus makes an array of tasty dishes using a variety of cooking methods. Despite the common belief that skinny asparagus spears are tastier and more tender than fat spears, the true determinate of good taste and texture is how fresh your asparagus is. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a patch in your backyard, grab a bunch from your local farmers’ market and celebrate spring’s fresh flavor.