Let us count the ways:
1. It’s the first crop to push its way through the garden’s mud and mire.
2. Plant it once, and it appears every year — no tilling, no fertilizing, no fuss.
3. It packs 180 percent of the FDA’s recommended daily allowance of Vitamin K, plus it’s rich in folate, manganese and Vitamins A and C.
4. It comes in lovely white, green and purple varieties.
5. It’s a perfect excuse to make homemade mayonnaise for dipping.
6. It’s versatile:
- Daub it with olive oil and roast it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes for a slightly smoky, slightly charred treat;
- Blanch it for just 1 minute, then submerge in ice water. Dry it off and dip it in that mayonnaise with impunity;
- Grill it;
- Plop it in a saute pan with some olive oil and butter, then cover the pan and simmer the spears for 8 minutes; or
- Eat it raw — shaved into vegetable salads, chopped into egg or noodle salads, or dunked whole in — yes — that homemade mayo.
7. It’s a perfect vehicle for pork. Put four or five stalks in a pile, wrap them with thinly sliced prosciutto and drizzle with olive oil. Season the packets with salt and pepper, then roast them at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
8. It’s cheap. Grow your own, and you won’t shell out close to $5 a bunch. Plus, you won’t get old, wrinkled spears.
9. It’s fresh. If you think you hate asparagus, chances are your mother made you eat the mushy, tinny, overall nasty canned stuff. If that’s the only asparagus you’ve ever eaten, you’ve never eaten asparagus.
10. It’s special. Asparagus doesn’t grow all summer. If it’s in your garden, you’ve got just a month or so to gobble it up. So get picking — and eating!