Treasure Hunt

This weekend as Al and I cleared brush from around the broken fence near the old outhouse, I spotted a slender spear of asparagus in the grass.  I knew asparagus grew wild along that fence row, a leftover from someone’s garden of the past, but every spring I seem to miss the day the sprout reaches peak edibility. 

Every year in late March I start walking the fence row searching for a sign that fresh asparagus is on its way.  Every year I am diligent in my search for a week or so.  Then, I get distracted for a few days and when I remember to search again, I’m too late.  The once tender sprout seems to shoot up 12 inches in a day and the stalk becomes fibrous and the top turns to seed.

This year, I got lucky.  We just happened to be out working in an area where the wild asparagus grows on the day it was ready to eat.  I spotted that one lone spear and I snapped it off at the ground.  Perfect.  I could tell by the crisp pop it made when I bent the stem to snapping that it was still tender and good.  I dropped my rake and left Al to the brush as I took off down the fence row on my search.  I scanned the fence line until I found the telltale sign.  A wispy brown bundle four feet high revealed where the seeds had fallen last autumn.  There on the ground I hit the jackpot.  Ten perfect tender spears of asparagus.  It was just enough for…me.  I didn’t share either.  Yesterday, while the kids were in school and Al was downtown at work, I started a pot of water to boil and dropped my bountiful treasure in.  I cooked them till they turned a brilliant green.  Not too much, I like them slightly crisp.  And with a quick rinse in the strainer, and a dressing of soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, my masterpiece was complete.  Mmmm, sweet memory, unless I get lucky next year.