you know when spring has arrived when you go to the farmers market sunday morning and pick up 2 fat bunches of asparagus for $3, 3 overflowing pints of strawberries for $5, and a dozen beautiful organic chicken eggs for $2.25. these seasonal ingredients should be prepared simply and eaten as often as possible. this is my favorite sort of meal: creamy grits/polenta (which i now realize you can not see due to the asparagus deluge), roasted asparagus with lemon zest, and a fried egg on top. i dont eat eggs by themselves very often, but i really enjoy them in applications like this. the soft yolk, once broken, coats the asparagus and grits, creating an instant sauce. this is also a good time to break out your finishing salt (maladon, french grey salt, pink sea salt, etc.) the salt is pleasantly crunchy against all of the soft elements in this dish. go to the farmers market now (if it is asparagus season where you are) and buy as many bunches you can eat, it will be gone before you know it.
simple asparagus supper
here you can either make it the slow way that requires about 1/2 to 1 hour of slow simmering and stirring (which i did this weekend) or if you are pressed for time, you can use quick cooking grits or polenta. which ever method you chose, stir in a handful of grated parmagiano at the end and/or a bit of cream or half and half. here i cooled down the polenta and cut it into squares and broiled them for a couple minutes.
1 bunch or as much as you can eat of asparagus, trimmed and sliced on the bias into 2 inch pieces
preheat the oven to 400* and slide in a heavy baking sheet. toss the asparagus with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, a bit of roughly chopped garlic, and the zest of one lemon. roast the asparagus until tender. maybe 15 or 20 minutes? squeeze the juice of 1/2 a small lemon over the asparagus as soon as they come out of the oven.
place the grit on the bottom of your bowl. cover with asparagus. top with a fried egg, make sure that the yolk is soft and runny. sprinkle with your finishing salt and pepper. eat immediately!