Green or white forms of Asparagus are most commonly available in the markets in the spring. There is another not-so-common variety of Asparagus, purple, although it takes work. When grown naturally in the open, Asparagus is green in color; grown without light, they are devoid of chlorophyll and becomes white. Light lets chlorophyll produce the green pigments that give green Asparagus its vibrant color. White has a milder taste than its green counterpart, but either could be used in an asparagus recipe.
In most areas, the asparagus season is from April through May. On the west coast, it can begin in February, and on the east coast, it can run through July.
THE BEST ASPARAGUS
Asparagus, which has thick stalks, are not ideal for cooking, so do examine the stalks before you buy. They should be pencil-sized and firm enough to stand up. The asparagus tips should be closed together and have a slight purplish tint.
Asparagus needs to be stored in a cool place away from heat. When you get it from the marketplace, wrap it in a moist paper or towel and place it in the refrigerator.
HOW TO PREPARE ASPARAGUS FOR COOKING
Bear in mind asparagus is grown below
the soil, so it is essential to cleanse it in cold water before you start cooking. Look for rigid ends and cut them. Blanching and scalding of Asparagus must be followed by immersing them in cold water to preserve its green color.
PROSCIUTTO AND ASPARAGUS PIZZA RECIPE
(Makes 6 to 8 servings) Components: One (twelve-inch) unbaked pizza crust, six to eight thin slices of prosciutto, One pound of mozzarella cheese, grated eleven ounces of goat cheese, Twelve spears fresh Asparagus, chopped 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved Fresh black pepper, one tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Leave pizza crust on a pizza pan and intersperse mozzarella on it. Place Asparagus, prosciutto, and tomatoes over mozzarella, then scatter evenly with goat cheese.
- Sprinkle basil and black pepper over the pizza. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Allow it to cool before slicing and serving.
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