May is asparagus month. Get it while you can.
But dare I say it? Asparagus is not one of my favorites. I do like the looks of asparagus, though. I like its pointy little crowns, its combination of green and purple, set off by a purple rubber band holding the spears into a bouquet of not-too-thin, not-too-fat, spears. I like the little thorns that are not thorns, more like triangular petals. I like their presence on a platter, garnished with egg or red peppers, or fencing a big steak; they are a good accent, like a nice bag or pair of shoes. Food cuteness, or sexiness, or color, or luster, is always important to me, and can compensate enough for the meh taste that I will eat it. At least, occasionally and when, like now, it is at its peak.
Looks, of course, will only take you so far. Asparagus has a dull personality—always the same, not very versatile. I’ve learned not to expect too much from it. If I am going to eat asparagus—not too often—it needs to be quickly and simply cooked; it’s just grass, isn’t? OK, that’s unfair. But just as well that the season is short. I’ll cook it now, in honor of the novelty and its looks. By the time boredom sets in, it will be gone.
Browned Buttered Breadcrumb Asparagus Omelet
Buttered breadcrumbs improve everything. Serves 1.
7 or 8 small asparagus spears, broken off so that they are about 5-6” long
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 very small clove garlic (from the inner bulb), crushed
2 tea unsalted butter plus 1 tea more
1 tea olive oil
1 T, generous, freshly grated parmesan
2 large eggs, beaten with 1 T milk or cream
Salt and pepper
Melt the 2 tea butter and the olive oil in a small (9”) pan until hot. Add the asparagus and cook over high heat, tossing around with tongs, for a minute or two. Add the bread crumbs and the crushed garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the crumbs are brown and have dried out a bit but are still moist. Salt and pepper to taste near the end of cooking, and remove to a plate. Add the parmesan and toss.
Wipe out the pan, and melt the other teaspoon of butter over medium heat until sizzling. Pour in the eggs, lightly salt and pepper, and cook, without stirring, until mostly set, lifting the edges and tilting the pan as needed to cook all the egg evenly. Place the asparagus and about half the crumbs into the center of the omelet and fold the edges over. Remove and scatter the remaining crumbs on top.