Asparagus spears are tender young shoots of a big, claw-shaped perennial that grows into a four-foot-tall fernlike plant. The spears start pushing up out of the ground in spring and are harvested when they are about 12 inches above the ground. You can find imported asparagus year-round but fresh spring asparagus-juicy, snappy and herbaceous-is a special treat of spring.
When buying make sure that the “crown” is tight and closed and the color bright green. Take a look at the bottom of the spear - it should look freshly-cut and still moist. And after you got local asparagus, kick-off the season with an old favorite.
Fettuccine with Asparagus Sauce
1 pound fresh fettuccine
1 bunch asparagus
2 cloves garlic
½ cup cream
1 tbsp. butter
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
¼ cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese plus enough shaved with a vegetable peeler to
Salt and white pepper to taste