Speaking of L.A. and asparagus, Russ Parsons, in today's LA Times explores the ease of this vegetable, at its peak right now. When you go to the market to pick some up, be sure to look for spears with tight flowers on top-as they get old the flower begins to open and sprout, not a good sign. I used to be a fan of the pencil thin spears but have realized over the years that the big ol' thick ones are packed with a lot more flavor. Be sure to cut off the bottom inch of two of the stem and if the spear looks to be much thicker on the bottom than the top, use a vegetable peeler to shave it down so it's all even. For a new, and very easy, way to cook your spears, try Russ' version of Steamed Asparagus with Brown Butter Sauce. Simple on its own, he also mentions the variation he tried by topping it with a poached (or fried) egg. Break that yolk and it'll combine with the brown butter sauce to taste as rich as hollandaise. Add a big salad and you've got dinner (although some bread to drag through that sauce might be necessary too). Remember, asparagus has about one month of high season and this is it-head to your farmers' market and get some soon.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking.