Once upon a time, we made a point of seeking out the skinniest asparagus in the store, believing it to be more delicate, and fresher than old thick and woody stalks.
But now we've seen the error of our ways, and no longer push aside the fat asparagus. Instead we reach for it. Why?For one thing, skinny asparagus no longer means what it used to. Big agriculture now grows lots of skinny asparagus and there's no guarantee that the skinny ones are any fresher than their fat brethren.
But when you find a grower that you trust to bring you good fresh stalks that aren't too woody, then fat asparagus is where its at. For one thing, they stand up to cooking better. For thin asparagus, the window of time between just right and overcooked is very small, making it easy to wind up with stringy, overcooked stalks.
Thick stalks have a nice crunch, and a deep flavor. And then there's the tips. Large tips are both soft and firm, and are incredibly juicy.
Of course, skinny stalks still have their place. They cook faster, and you never have to peel them. For a dish where delicateness is king, we use pencil-thin.
But for dishes like roasted asparagus, or steamed with hollandaise sauce, or even stirred into a pasta, we're loving big fat stalks.
What do you think? Do you reach for fat or skinny?
Related: Quick Tip: How to Trim Asparagus
Images: Nina Callaway and Faith Hopler, for the Kitchn