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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Asparagus Song

I know I've already written very recently about this supposedly wonderful veg, but I can't keep this in.

I hate Asparagus!!!

As you know we had friends around on Sunday for "drinks and nibbles". It was a great success, thanks for asking. And a great way, I thought, of reducing the asparagus mountain that was accumulating in our kitchen. I made a couple of dips, hot chilli and sesame oil, and mayo and garlic to complement the beautifully steamed little gems.

You'd have thought I'd offered our guests a bowl of sick and cardboard so reluctant were they to eat the green spears. But I should have known.

One set of guests also have an allotment and an "aspo" bed; along with that sense of despair and futility on being confronted with never-ending supply of the bloody stuff. The other couple had only recently eaten the pile of the green muck which I'd off loaded onto them a matter of days ago.

Now, the first thing I do in the mornings is scan the internet for recipes: specifically ones which will hide the taste of the stuff. But it's sickening, the bloody chefs go on and on about the joys of the green vermin and how wonderful and delicate is the flavour and texture of the friggin'  asparagus officinalis. So the last thing any of the recipes do is try to hide the taste!

Apparently it fell out of favour in the Middle Ages having been lionised since the Egyptians about 3000 BC - and then fell back into favour in the seventeenth century. Just my luck - born 500 years too late.

I think it's all a big con, and I blame Galen, who had the nerve in the second century to describe the weed as having "cleansing and healing" properties. It is claimed to be hugely healthy capable, single- handedly, of curing gout, piles, ill starred love and flatulence. It wouldn't surprise me if "Woman's Hour" isn't, at this very moment, running a campaign to get the stuff on prescription.

This morning, as I entered the kitchen, I was aware of a forest of the devilish spears staring at me out of a large water filled jar by the sink. It was the final straw.

Taking them roughly by the neck I snapped them in two, throwing away the lower half and putting the top half in a steamer. Turning the heat up to maximum I steamed the green meanies 'til they begged for release, at the same time poaching an innocent egg. A slice of home made buttered bread completed the assemblage as I spooned out the little blighters onto a plate, placed the egg on top and smothered it with mayo. It was bloody, but someone had to do it.

I discovered another way of getting rid of the little blighters which is to bury them in an asparagus cemetery. See picture.

And, of course, when I get down to the allotment later today I'll be greeted by a line of eager little green spears desperate to make my life hell.


Steve said...

Have to say I have never ever tried the stuff. It always seemed what posh people ate when I was a kid. We stuck with potatoes and carrots. And peas. Always big on peas.

Marginalia said...

Not missing much Steve. Greatly overrated. Now peas, well that's my baby. I've four rows a churning at the mo' with others on the way.

Will take a pea photo for your album.

...louciao... said...

Forgive my colonial simple- mindedness but I have to ask: if you hate them, why do you grow them? At least, that's what I'm thinking an "allotment" indicates--a garden plot to look after. Are there rules posted anywhere that say you must grow asparagus? Personally, I would never disparage it; I view asparagus as a treat. Although, I must admit, I often leave long mushy stringy half-eaten remnants of them at the side of my plate. If you think asparagus is vile, I suggest you stay well away from fiddle heads.

Marginalia said...

Hit the nail on the head there dear loucio; why indeed grow the stuff.

It's all to do with the inheritance laws in the UK. I inherited this historic asparagus plot (they can carry on churning out the stuff for up to 20 years). If I want to avoid inheritance tax I am required by law (Gunpowder and other Plots tax law 1723) to keep growing the stuff.

It is a treat, but this year the plot's gone into overdrive. And too much of a good thing....

If you're leaving stringy remnants then, either it's old or else it's not been prepared properly.

...louciao... said...

Usually a bit of both, alas: Old and ill-prepared, like many people of my acquaintance.