Narsai David Food Report: Asparagus—The True Harbinger Of Spring

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Fresh asparagus is displayed at a farmers market in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Fresh asparagus is displayed at a farmers market in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Narsai David (CBS) Narsai David
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The true harbinger of spring for me is asparagus. Yes, I am waiting anxiously for those first white peaches of the season, but they’ve got a ways to come.

Asparagus, whether it by green, white, purple or purple; can bring some distinctly different flavors. Actually green and purple are similar, but the white is really something quite different altogether.

The white mounds up some compost-like material (or straw) over it so the sunlight doesn’t get to it. It’s basically growing underground so without sunlight it can’t become green, hence it’s pale complexion. It’s got an unusual taste that not a lot of people like and is very expensive.

Skinny asparagus spears are much, more grassy in flavor and the thicker ones have a sweeter taste. If you’re looking for value don’t bypass the asparagus tips. What happens there is asparagus is always cut to a pre-determined size. In the process of cutting it, sometimes they get broken spears. Those broken spears are then bunched together and sold. There’s no waste and you can eat the entire thing.

Now is the time of year, for breakfast, lunch and dinner to appreciate the Delta asparagus. My favorite way to enjoy them is to drop them into vigorous boiling water with no lid on the pot. Please don’t overcook them though. That’s the biggest sin of all is when you serve a spear that has gotten too mushy.

Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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