Asparagus is one of the first plants that greet us in springtime! It’s a perennial, which means that once it gets established, the tender spears will return year after year. In addition, its ferny foliage makes an excellent ornamental.
Asparagus, or garden asparagus, folk name sparrow grass, scientific name Asparagus officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant species in the genus Asparagus. Its young shoots are used as a spring vegetable. It was once classified in the lily family, like the related Allium species, onions and garlic.
However, genetic research places lilies, Allium, and asparagus in three separate families — the Liliaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and Asparagaceae, respectively — with the Amaryllidaceae and Asparagaceae being grouped together in the order Asparagales. Sources differ as to the native range of Asparagus officinalis, but generally include most of Europe and western temperate Asia. It is widely cultivated as a vegetable crop. This popular vegetable comes in a variety of colors, including green, white and purple.
There are so many ways to prepare it; whether prepared as a soup, standalone side or as part of a larger entrée, asparagus is a delicious and healthy veggie. Asparagus is also low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
When I bring my asparagus home I like to cut the bottoms ½” off like you would fresh flowers. Put then fresh cut ends in a bit of fresh water in a glass jar in the refrigerator. I like to use a Swiss Peeler ($5 William Sonoma) that is super sharp and an olive oil hand pump spritzer so there is no alcohol.
1 pound fresh asparagus stems peeled
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon herb de provence