A Postcard from Mrs. Sundberg
September 1, 2009
On a road trip a while back, I met a man from Seattle in a coffee shop in Wisconsin. He told me he's seen Spam, but he's never eaten it. Something so familiar, something I grew up smelling as my mother fried up thin slices with eggs on Saturday mornings before my father and brothers and I went out to chop and haul wood. Hard to believe there are people who could see Spam but not eat it. The same man told me about grilled asparagus, which I'd never made, much less eaten. So when I got home, I tried it. Can't hold the Spam thing against him if I'm unwilling to try asparagus. Life is like that. It's a big world, and if you stay where you are, you won't run into much that will challenge your routine. But get out there now and then, meet a few new people, visit a place you've never been, and you've got to re-think a thing or two. Maybe it's time you get yourself a pair of hiking boots. Maybe you ought to learn how to properly cook a sea bass. Perhaps, at long last, you ought to climb into a kayak and see what happens. There aren't many guarantees in life and winter is not long off. Have an adventure today, my friend. Even if it's a trip to the market to buy some asparagus. No one's going to make your life wonderful for you. Thank goodness you've got it in you to make it so yourself.
Take a bunch of fresh asparagus. Wash the stalks and trim the cut ends. Soak in olive oil for a few minutes. (Any olive oil will do - doesn't have to be from a specific region of Italy.)
Turn gas grill on to med/high or prep charcoal grill to where coals are red hot and ready to go. (Gas grill is preferable, I must say.)
Lay asparagus stalks down on grill and salt and pepper quite liberally. Cover. Let cook five minutes or so, then roll stalks and cook another five or so. It won't take long; you'll have to keep an eye on 'em, and you'll know when they're done. (Careful - don't wander off and forget. Asparagus don't take long to vaporize.)
Remove from grill. You may wish to squeeze a bit of fresh lemon over the stalks, especially if you're serving them with fish.
Or make a lot, and serve as its own meal with some homemade Hollandaise.