SPRING harvest: ASPARAGUS (in exremis)

Good ol' green ASPARAGUS stalks are always bundled together and sold as une botte (a bunch) at marketplaces here in Paris from April to June (there are still a few days left to grab a bunch, toss them with a bit of olive oil, lightly roast them in a hot oven for just a few of minutes then season them with fleur de sel as you slide them out of the oven. When cool, just dip them in some homemade aioli...
Now I say good ol' because in France it is white asparagus that reigns supreme — funny this fascination with "torturing" certain vegetables (leeks, Belgian endive, radicchio rosso di Treviso tardivo , asparagus) only to then venerate them. By torturing I mean depriving them of any sunlight (no, white asparagus is not a variety in and of itself), heaping mounds of sand up and over each stalk from the moment it sprouts till the time it is hewn down. Merciless, I'd say! In this way no chlorophyl develops — God forbid — giving the normally rotund white stalks a supposedly milder flavor.

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