Sunday, May 25, 2014
ASPARAGUSTaking advantage of their short season
I developed a sweet tooth from an early age, although I’m not sure whether I developed it through nature or nurture; my child-minder always had a pack of Skittles or Opal Fruits (now called Starburst) waiting for me on the kitchen table when I returned home from school, and my mother has had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember.
One of the health implications of me having a sweet tooth, apart from the obvious affinity for chocolates and sweets, is that I’m not particularly fond of vegetables, though I love to gnaw my way through copious amounts of fruit which stave off my cravings for other sugary goodies. I eat vegetables because they are healthy, nutritious and contribute to my 5-7 portions a day, however I don’t believe in just ‘tolerating’ food if it doesn’t stimulate my taste buds or whet my appetite in some way, so every now and again (particularly when the weather is as dismal as it has been this weekend) I look for quick and easy opportunities to add a little bit of interest to the healthy foods I might otherwise avoid – this weekend I experimented with asparagus.
I was reading in a magazine recently that the spring vegetable, asparagus, has a very short season - a mere 8 weeks from around mid-April to mid-June - and given this year is whizzing by I decided to take advantage and see what all the fuss was about with this flowering perennial plant species, which I hadn't tried before now; after all it is high in dietary fibre and rich in vitamins and minerals, as most vegetables are, particularly folate which is important during the pre-conception stage – no, I myself am not trying for a baby!
After cooking the asparagus spears in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, heating a griddle pan with a tiny knob of butter, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a drizzle of lemon juice to toast some almonds (blanched almonds are best) and sautee the asparagus, followed by transferring them to a plate where grated cheese was delicately sprinkled, I realised what the fuss was about. This asparagus dish was supposed to accompany my chicken dinner, but I ended up eating it as a starter/snack and was pleasantly surprised and impressed with how my palate took to it - nom nom nom!
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