Inspired by ingredients

My menu is most often made-up on the spot. As I meander through the market, I am inspired by the fresh, local seasonal ingredients that catch my eye, stir my curiosity or are just plain so wonderfully fresh it would be a sin not to include them in my basket. Sometimes the menu changes or evolves once I get home and have laid out all the ingredients on the table. Its like a symphony of ingredients creating a delicious song.

Yesterday, fresh jumbo asparagus caught my eye. When something is this fresh and flavorful, little needs to be done to enhance it and little should be done so as not to ruin it. A light drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of aromatic savory salt and a 10-12 minute roast in the oven. Usually, I grate a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on the asparagus, but these called for nothing more than a fork and plate on which to enjoy the spear-like delicacies. It is a reminder that it is worth seeking out seasonal produce, enjoy during its short-lived life, and then wait in anticipation until next year or season is before us once again.

Next time you find yourself at the market, be open to revising your list and your menu. You might just find that one ingredient that will be the foundation of your meal, the highlight of your eating , and everything else will fall into place.

Buon appetito!

Copyright 2007 Alisa Barry

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