California asparagus is in full season and that means it must be spring.
What should you know to enjoy this marvelous treat?
First, when the asparagus is harvested it’s cut to various lengths out in the field. Then its brought into a packing shed and cut by machine to a standard length to fit in boxes. During all this processing some of the spears get broken and get a little shorter. Those shorter ones are bundled together and sold as asparagus tips. These are the best deal around because you can use the entire thing. If you’re getting the large spears, the full length, you need to cut off that white and purplish part down at the bottom and just discard that.
As for the big ones vs. the little ones it’s just a matter of personal taste. The big ones are a little bit more delicate and sweeter in flavor. The real skinny ones are going to be a much more grassy, more distinctive flavor.
When it comes to cooking it, I find nothing beats just dropping it into boiling water. Use plenty of water and take out a piece to test at just the moment you like it… then immediately drain it. If you’re serving it hot it goes straight to the table. If you want it cold for a salad then drop it into ice water to chill and guarantee it stops cooking.
Now is the time to really enjoy California asparagus.