Asparagus: coming soon! The spring vegetables will arrive at the market any weekend now. And it’s about time asparagus, artichokes, and ramps displaced the winter greens and starchy potatoes occupying my vegetable drawer.
I do enjoy my weekly dose of kale. But if we’re being honest, I like pizza more. What’s the connection? Judging by Whole Foods’s nutritional ratings, known as ANDI scores, my budget and vegetable tolerance are well served by singling out the produce with the highest nutritional rating and buying only that. That way, I don’t waste money on cucumbers or iceberg lettuce, nutritional laughingstocks. I save my cash–and stomach space–for buying pizza and French fries. But I still get my kale-borne nutrients.
The major food groups for college students–cereal, pizza, and booze–are supposed to get a gourmet boost upon graduation. That’s when they morph into simple pastas, make-ahead stews, and hummus–what we’d call sort of entry-level quarter-life cooking. Yet according to New York Magazine, our demographic has now matriculated into a cultural foodie tier where we dine only at the best and the fanciest restaurants.
And yet I seem to have reverted. I enjoy late-night meals of granola (albeit homemade) and afternoon snacks of `pepperoni pizza. Somehow that college food has become my comfort food. The difference is that now I know I need to get my veggies, aka that nutrient-rich kale.
That’s why spring has got to arrive, bringing with it other worthwhile veggies like asparagus and giving me a reason to splurge at the farmers’ market, rather than save all my dough for the pizzeria.
Do you still eat like a college student?
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Serves 4 to 6 as a side
To trim asparagus, you want to bend them with two hands and let them snap at their natural breaking point.
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed
1 garlic clove minced with salt
4 teaspoons white miso
4 teaspoons white wine
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Combine the minced garlic, miso, white wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt and mix well. I like to do this step in my mini prep–it comes together really fast.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. The marinade usually burns a bit in the oven, so this will save your baking pan.
Place the asparagus on the parchment and drizzle the marinade across. Toss to coat all the spears.
Roast the asparagus for about 35 minutes, tossing once, until they are tender and browned. Serve immediately or at room temperature.