is the name of a vegetable obtained from one
species within the genus Asparagus, specifically
the young shoots of Asparagus officinalis. It has been used from very early
times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties.
There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes,
Apicius's 3rd century CE De
re coquinaria, Book III.
their simplest form, the shoots are boiled or steamed until tender and served
with a light sauce like hollandaise or melted butter or a drizzle of olive oil
with a dusting of Parmesan cheese. A refinement is to tie the shoots into sheaves
and stand them so that the lower part of the stalks are boiled, while the more
tender heads are steamed. Tall cylindrical asparagus cooking pots have liners
with handles and perforated bases to make this process foolproof.
most vegetables, where the smaller and thinner are the more tender, thick asparagus
stalks have more tender volume to the proportion of skin. When asparagus have
been too long in the market, the cut ends will have dried and gone slightly concave.
The best asparagus are picked and washed while the water comes to the boil. Fastidious
cooks scrape asparagus stalks with a vegetable peeler, stroking away from the
head, and refresh them in ice-cold water before steaming them. Small or full-sized
stalks can be made into asparagus soup. Cantonese restaurants
in the United States often serve
asparagus stir-fried with chicken, shrimp, or beef. Asparagus is one of few foods
which is acceptable to eat with the hands, although this is more common in Europe.
asparagus (left) and green asparagus (right)
thing worth mentioning with asparagus is that some of its constituents are metabolised
and excreted in the urine, giving it a distinctive,
mildly unpleasant odour. The smell is caused by various sulfur-containing degradation
products (e.g. mercaptans and thioesters).
As a result of studies it was not only shown that only around 40% of the test
persons displayed this characteristic smell, but also that not everyone is able
to smell the odour once it is produced.  (http://www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/0800/education/277.html)
amino acid asparagine
gets its name from asparagus, the asparagus plant being rich in this compound.
as a vegetable is widely grown around villages near Evesham in the Vale
of Evesham in Worcestershire, England, and the
plant grows wild on England's south coast. Indeed in Evesham it is still known by some
by its original local name of Sparrow Grass.