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Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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April 24, 2008 9:30 AM

Ooh, Ahh, 'sparagus

Posted by Nancy Leson

I was driving through Ballard yesterday, when I spotted this: Local asparagus, making its seasonal debut!

So I pulled over, went into Jimmy Wild's produce market Top Banana, bought a pound and took them home:

My favorite way to eat fresh asparagus is grilled, with olive oil, salt and lemon, but I was too lazy to fire up the grill. Instead, I blanched the stalks, drained them, and dressed them with some fancy olive oil, lemon zest, coarse salt and pepper:

And then I ate them the way they're meant to be eaten: with (shhhh!) my fingers.

Word on the street -- my street -- is that they're selling Yakima asparagus for a buck a pound at my neighborhood produce stand, Country Farms in Edmonds, which (yay!) reopened a few weeks back. No doubt, fresh local asparagus is showing up at your local produce stand and farmers markets, too. And the local greenery will surely be brightening plates at restaurants all over town, for which I am truly grateful.

For more on asparagus, check out the April 22nd post at Fresh Picked News, a fun blog written by a produce-happy gal named Darby, whose husband, Dale, works at the Yakima Fruit Market in Bothell. There, as the readerboard-photo on Darby's blog shows, they've got the slim green goods for $1.99/pound. Beats the heck out of that $4.99/pound stuff imported from Mexico or Peru, huh?

And speaking of local produce, back when I lived in beautiful Cape May, N.J., I had an elderly neighbor who cultivated an acre of the most delicious asparagus I've ever tasted (yes folks, that's why Jersey's called the "Garden State.") He sold it to anyone willing to show him the money, which, as I recall, was a pittance. I always bought the fattest ones he could find.

So, howzabout you? Asparagus: fat or skinny? Fork or fingers? Slice off the root-end or bend-it-till-breaks? And what's your favorite way to cook 'em?

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