The 175-year old house that we bought had many wonderful things about it. It had a creek, it was set on a river… and it had a very mature asparagus patch! It was overgrown when we took over that August so many years ago but it took to taming and lo and behold on May 6th the next year… there were asparagus poking their little necks from the soil.
At first I thought it was a joke being played on me since they shoot up just as they are… but no, they were attached!
They need to be picked fairly regularly for 1 month. After that the asparagus must be allowed to bolt and make lovely asparagus ferns to nourish themselves for the next season. It takes a few years to get a bed going and the plants need to be dug very deeply to be most successful. It is a good deal of work but the result will be worth it and will continue for decades!
As any gardener knows, it is the thick stalk that is the healthiest and most flavorful, not the pencil thin stalks. Asparagus.org tells us that it is a member of the lily family and a spear can grow 10” in one day so if you have a weekend garden you can leave on Sunday with a bag of asparagus and a barren patch and return on Friday night to find a forest of 3’ tall specimens! They still can be eaten but will be quite tough as they get closer to the ground.
Freshly cut from the garden, asparagus is staggeringly good with not much else but butter and maybe a bit of lemon. I have loved roasting them (500º slathered in olive oil for 10 minutes) since it concentrates the flavor but usually I just steam them.
I don’t do dips as a rule… not really much at all. But a have a few that I return to year after year and this is one of them. It doesn’t have a name aside from "the asparagus dip" and I have no idea where it came from… perhaps a NY restaurant years gone by. It is simple and so very good with other vegetables too. Since it’s made with tofu it is a lovely vegetarian dish.
¼ c silken tofu
¼ c mild flavored vegetable oil (I used Macadamia which was recommended by Deborah at A Doctor's Kitchen and is really a great oil)
2 T Rice Wine Vinegar
2 T Sesame oil
1T Soy Sauce
1 small clove garlic, crushed
chervil for garnish
Throw it all into the blender and you’re done. This is enough for 1 bunch of asparagus.