This post comes after more than a year of researching every way I can think of and completely failing to find anything related to the matter at hand. The matter at hand is the second growth of asparagus spears in the early fall, long after the asparagus crowns have been allowed to grow the long, bushy fronds they need in order to feed the crown for next year’s growth and more specifically, whether or not a small portion of the second growth can be harvested.
Unable to find any information either for or against sneaking a few of these late season spears, I have had to reason this out for myself for the past two years and while the result is probably entirely predictable (Garden fresh asparagus in fall? Yes please!), I like to think my reasoning well rooted in a layman’s pseudo-botany. The rationale goes something like this: the individual asparagus crowns have been photosynthesizing since May, and of the new spears coming up in September/October I am only taking about 1 out of every 3 of the new growth spears and then only off of crowns that already have more than 3 stems that have fully grown out and are working hard to supply nourishment to the crown to take it through winter and make a stronger growth next year.
With 16 crowns all together (8 Jersey Knight and 8 Purple Passion) all of which are enjoying a youthful resurgence right now, this equals out to around 4-5 spears per week that are coming indoors and leading to some interesting, not-normally-on-the-same-plate combinations. This afternoon for lunch, I sauteed some asparagus picked 30 minutes earlier along with some Italian kale harvested at the same time.
This one featured rehydrated morels, 4 spears of asparagus, 4 cherry tomatoes and 2 red serrano peppers – all from the garden except for the morels. I saute all ingredients except the more delicate tomatoes in butter with a little olive oil until the asparagus is just shy of done.
When the eggs have finished cooking, plate with a little shredded cheese of your choosing – I have used both colby-jack and mozzarella and both have worked wonderfully. Top with your choice of fresh herb (I alternate between basil and dill) and voila – delicious and nutritious meal in just a few minutes!