In Season: Asparagus

asapragus tips and recipes from the James Beard Foundation

 

Yes, yes, everyone knows that asparagus is in season in the spring. But after a long winter with nary a green veggie in sight, we can't help but get excited about seeing those long, brightly hued stalks at the market.

 

Plus, asparagus is about as easy to cook as it gets. We could eat simple, olive oil-drizzled roasted asparagus pretty much every day until July, but sometimes we mix it up with a piquant vinaigrette and some chopped olives. We also like to blanch asparagus, throw it into the blender with lemon zest and a big handful of Parmesan, and toss the surprisingly creamy purée with penne. If you're itching to get fancy, try a shaved asparagus pizza or a side dish of asparagus with walnuts and plenty of brown butter. Or, if the thought of an asparagus-free summer is more than you can bear, try pickling it with that other harbinger of spring: ramps.

 

How to Choose and Store:

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In Season: Pumpkins

pumpkin

Pumpkins have a bit of a typecasting problem. Though they loom large in America’s cultural consciousness each fall, their starring turns are limited to appearances as jack o’ lanterns on Halloween and in pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving. But pumpkins have so much more to offer: sliced and roasted, they’re a sweet foil for rich, savory dishes such as the Afghani dish kaddo bourani, which pairs caramelized pumpkin with spicy ground beef. When baked and mashed, pumpkin purée can be thrown into quick breads, pancakes, and desserts that in no way resemble pie, like the chocolate cake featured below. How to Choose and Store: Small pie or sugar pumpkins are best for cooking. One five-pound pumpkin will yield about 4 ½ cups of purée. Uncut, uncured pumpkins will keep for a couple of months in a cool, dry place. Cooked pumpkin will last about five days in the refrigerator or up to six months in the freezer. How to Cook:

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