Stalk of the town


While the rest of the country is suffering cabin fever and snow-verload, it's already spring here in balmy California. And spring in the Sacramento Delta means asparagus! These funny, prehistoric-looking shoots sprout straight out of the ground, growing several inches a day as the weather warms. You'll find almost exclusively green spears, although purple varieties may be on offer at certain farmers markets. Save steaming and stir-frying for large asparagus and simply grill or pan sear thin stalks to heat them through. Asparagus requires little other than salt, butter or flavorful olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.