Maui Girl Cooks

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti

Would you pack this vegetable in your lunch?

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You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook’s year. I get more excited by that than anything else.” by Mario Batali

Raw asparagus in glass final

Asparagus is one of the definitive signs that spring is finally here, along with buttery daffodils, sweet peas and fragrant lilacs.  I don’t notice the change in seasons so much in Maui. Even though the weather does change discernibly in the spring and fall, it isn’t as striking a change as it is in the Pacific Northwest, where we lived before making the wise decision to move back to the Hawaiian Islands.  I’m not aware of daffodils or lilacs growing in Maui, but asparagus makes a springtime appearance at the farmer’s market.  When asparagus comes to you directly from the farmer, you have beautiful dark green spears, just waiting to be roasted in a hot oven, steamed and then adorned with freshly made mayonnaise or aioli or made into a silky soup.  Before we get to the recipe, let us go back to the title of this post.  Would you pack this vegetable in your lunch?  I think you know what I’m referring to here-the totally normal malodorous after effects of eating asparagus.  You may think that you do not have pungent pee after you eat this springtime delicacy, but in fact you do.  However, according to Web MD, only about a quarter of the population has the gene that allows them to detect asparagus’ sulfurous amino acids that break down into smelly chemical components in everyone.  People have noticed this phenomenon for centuries. In 1913 French novelist Marcel Proust noted that asparagus “transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume.” A British men’s club is purported to have put up a sign that said, “During the asparagus season, members are requested not to relieve themselves in the hat stand.”  I am one of the lucky 25% who has the gene and just in case the person who follows me into the ladies’ room does too, I usually choose to enjoy my asparagus at home.  How about you?

Roasted Asparagus with Lemon & Thyme

1 pound asparagus washed & dried, ends trimmed {I snap the stems off at their natural breaking point.}
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt & pepper
Fresh thyme sprigs
Thin slices of lemon, halved

Put asparagus on a cookie sheet & drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roll the asparagus around so that the spears are filmed with oil.  Don’t put too much, or your asparagus will be greasy.  Season with salt & pepper, and then distribute thyme sprigs over all.  Top with thin slices of lemon.  Roast in a 375 degree oven for 7-15 minutes, depending on how thick your asparagus is.  I start checking for doneness around 7 minutes.  I like the asparagus to be tender, but not so tender that it bends when I pick it up.  Be sure to eat the lemon slices with the asparagus {if you have organic you can eat the rind too-it’s good for you}.

Roasted Asparagus final

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