Get thee to your local farmers' market
right about now and you'll be given ample opportunity to pick up some asparagus. I find it hard to resist as I pass by a market (those pencil thin stalks slip so easily into my bag) and usually end up making them for dinner that night.
A member of the lily family, asparagus is in season between February and June, and those of us in the North East start enjoying it now through the end of May. When buying asparagus, look for firm, bright green stalks with tight tips. It's best cooked same day, but it will keep a few days tightly wrapped in the fridge. If you find your stems are tough, remove the outer layer with a vegetable peeler.
Asparagus is a great source of Folic Acid, a good source of thia min and vitamin C, and also contains vitamins A and B6 and iron.
One of my favorite preparations of asparagus is to lightly roast it with paramesan and top it with a poached egg and a little prosciutto. Recipe in the next post...