1. Asparagus is a member of the lily family.
2. Top accompaniments for asparagus are butter, parmesan, hollandaise and vinaigrette, eggs, bacon or pancetta.
3. Asparagus also comes in shades of purple and red, which turn green only when cooked.
4. Sizes range from slender, young ‘sprue’ asparagus to thicker-stemmed, jumbo-sized ‘kitchen’ grades.
5. It takes about three years for asparagus plants to become established, and even longer to reach a fully productive state.
6. Asparagus is considered a difficult food to pair with wine – it contains methyl mercaptan, a sulphur compound, which tends to give wine a vegetal or metallic taste. Try pairing asparagus with cool-climate wines that have pronounced herbal flavors to counteract this.
7. White asparagus is grown by creating mounds of soil around the growing spears, hiding them from the light and resulting in their blanched, pale look. It is particularly labor-intensive to harvest, as experienced eyes are needed to spot the spear tips in the soil.
How to Grill Asparagus – A suggestion from a reader:
Using a grill basket makes it easy. After Olive Oil, use salt & pepper, season salt or any other fun spice.