These Spring Recipes Are What I Cook When I’m Impatient For Asparagus

Every other week Bon Appétit associate editor Christina Chaey writes about what she’s cooking right now. Pro tip: If you sign up for the Healthyish newsletter, you’ll get the scoop before everyone else.

Every year around this time I revisit a handful of poems about spring that I bookmarked when I was in college and very into National Poetry Month and smoking Djarum Blacks. I have left my clove cigarette days behind, but my love for “The Seven of Pentacles” by Marge Piercy remains. It’s all about appreciating the waiting period before a harvest, when all you can do is be patient and trust that things are happening, even if you can’t see or hear or feel them at work:

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

At the end of the longest season of the longest year, in the throes of late-stage pandemic burnout, it’s tempting to look back at the last 12 months and feel like I’ve done a whole lot of nothing. But then I remind myself that’s just the burnout talking. My little earthworm army has been hard at work all along, and perhaps it’s time to give them some credit.

‘Gus it up!

Photo by Alex Lau, food styling by Rebecca Jurkevich

What I’m Cooking Now:

For those of us who love to cook, it’s not really spring until the arrival of your favorite early-season produce. For Basically editor Sarah Jampel, it’s hot pink stalks of rhubarb (make her Rhubarb-Brown Butter Bars as soon as you find some). For many chefs it’s fussy fava beans and even fussier artichokes. And for me it’s my beloved asparagus, or ’gus, which I always think is going to show up at the markets here in New York in early April but never seems to until late in the month. If you’ve got a hot ’gus tip for me, please drop me a line so I can make this Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus ASAP. 

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