Serve at a brunch, as an
appetizer or as a side dish
42 green asparagus
500 mL (2 cups) salted water
500 mL (2 cups) ice water
45 mL ( 3 Tbsp.) fresh orange juice
3 mL (3/4 tsp.) orange zest
30 mL (2 Tbsp.) fresh lime juice
33 mL (3/4 tsp.) lime zest
150 mL (2/3 cup) extra-virgin olive oil
100 mL (1/2 cup) heavy
(35 per cent) cream
Salt to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
33 green onions, minced, or fresh
coriander, minced (optional)
Once an aristocratic rarity, this springtime
vegetable is now available for any table
11. Break off butt ends and peel 3/4 of the
asparagus, if large. Bring salted water to a
boil. Immerse asparagus and cook 3 minutes.
Remove from water, drain and cool in ice
By Anne Desjardins water (to keep its beautiful colour). Set aside.
2. Mix ingredients for sauce. Just before
Cooking with in-season ber, asparagus was enjoyed serving, bring sauce to a boil for 30 seconds
products has always in late spring and was a while stirring.
been a source of inspi- choice delicacy reserved for Before serving, warm asparagus
ration to me. This is special occasions. Luckily,
1 minute in a saucepan with a small amount
especially the case in it is now cultivated more of oil and salt. Place in an attractive heated
springtime, the period of rebirth. widely and therefore is serving dish and drizzle with warm sauce.
After a long winter, when the more readily available and Top with minced herbs or onions, if desired.
landscape is painted almost moreaffordable.
exclusively in black and white, I will not go into an
the arrival of new shoots and the exhaustive description of Look for large or slim stalks that are rigid,
first crocuses and tulips raises this its origins here. It is impor- with sharp colour and no sign of wilting. To
inspiration to dizzying heights. tant, however, to know that keep asparagus fresh longer, store it in a refrig-
Asparagus is one of the there are many varieties of erated area and put the butt ends in water.
symbols of springtime rebirth, asparagus. Asparagus is easy to prepare. Break off
even though, with access to worldwide On vendor stands in North America, the butt end (bottom third) and peel the
imports these days, you can savour it almost asparagus is green, whereas in Europe the stem (unless the asparagus is very slim) up
anytime. This garden plant follows the white variety and the white purple-tipped to the tip.
season: Starting in the southern hemisphere variety are cultivated. Green asparagus is Because of its flavour and appetizing
in September, it grows in Chile, Peru, slowly penetrating European markets, but it appearance, asparagus has always been
Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico, California, is still considered a novelty. In our corner of treated as a meal in and of itself. Recipes
New Jersey and British Columbia, arriving in the world, the reverse is happening, with the abound: soups, salads, au gratin, by itself on
eastern Canada in April, just in time for our white variety making inroads into our mar- the grill or as an accompaniment to roast
own spring season. And I swear, with an kets. Even in my beautiful area, the beef. It goes especially well with mushrooms
obvious bias, that this is when it is at its best, Laurentian Mountains, a few producers are (morels and asparagus—delightful!), cheese,
all crisp and bursting with flavour. starting to cultivate it. Wild varieties are citrus (see recipe above) and fish. In short, it
Remnants of asparagus agriculture were sometimes available as well. is a well-loved and versatile vegetable. C
found in Pharaonic Egypt, in Roman antiq- As for taste, green asparagus is fresh,
uity and in Constantinople. Louis XIV him- slightly tart and almost sweet. I admit that Anne Desjardins is the award-winning chef and
self was partial to asparagus. Its finesse made this is my preferred variety. White asparagus, owner of L’Eau à la Bouche, a hotel-restaurant
it into a quasi-aristocratic vegetable; the high with its subtle, fresh nutty taste reminiscent located in Sainte-Adèle, Québec.
price it commanded due to its scarcity only of a root with a touch of bitterness, is also not
served to reinforce this perception. to be ignored.