Asparagus are varieties that maintain their quintessential textural and flavor qualities even at mature sizes. They have plump pale green stalks with knobby scales and tree shaped tips. They are firm in texture with balsam aromatics and their flavor is grassy, nutty and earthy sweet.
Asparagus are available year-round, the peak of this crop's season is in spring. Ontario crops are sparse due to the unique farming techniques.
All asparagus spears should be snapped at their natural breaking or bending point. Discard the lower parts as they are more fibrous and woody. Jumbo asparagus can be sauteed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. Spring ingredients such as morel mushrooms, green garlic, wild ramps, fennel, leeks, young lettuces and citruses such as lemon and grapefruit are most suitable pairings. Other complimentary ingredients include aged nutty cheeses such as pecorino and alpine cheeses, bacon, sausage, lamb, proscuitto, cream, eggs, butter, shallots, herbs such as thyme, basil and chervil, yeasty breads like sourdough and wheat and grains such as aborio rice, quinoa and farro.