Food & Drink » Glenda Bartosh on Food

Food and Drink

Spring food royalty



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But no need to feel left out if you missed out - three to five weeks remain in spot prawn season, so there's plenty of time to feast. We just bought two pounds of live prawns ($12 a pound) at False Creek's Fisherman's Wharf, immediately west of Granville Island, and had them home and in a pot of salted, boiling water before their heads hit ocean bottom. (The fisher snaps the heads off, if you like, and throws them back to sea, if the gulls don't grab them first.)

Yes, you can dress spot prawns up a million and one ways, but that's my favourite way to cook them: Heads off, then three to four minutes in a pot of water salted like seawater. Fish them out before they curl up tightly; the smaller ones will be done first.

Cook lots - this isn't the time to dole them out like the workhouse master in Oliver Twist . I can eat a pound myself (before the heads are removed), no problem.

On the side, what else but a dish of fresh asparagus? We whipped up the recipe below in no time. The hint of lemon and roasted walnuts were perfect foils to the asparagus, and even the prawns. If you don't even want to go to that bother, roasted asparagus is even simpler.

Whether you like thin spears, like I do, or you're from the thicker-is-better school, the key to picking out good asparagus is to go for the bright green ones with tightly closed tips. If the asparagus is shriveled or bends, but doesn't snap, it's over the hill.

Wash your asparagus and get rid of the coarse, stringy ends by holding the spears in both hands and bending them; they'll snap off where the tender parts begin.

Dump the spears in a small plastic bag, drizzle in some good olive oil and toss them till they're nicely coated. Place them on an oiled baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in a preheated 400-degree oven. The time depends on how big the spears are. Mine were done after 15 minutes, but bigger ones may take up to 25 minutes.

Add a fresh green salad - we're so lucky to have lots of nice organic greens and herbs around right now that don't come in a plastic container. Use fresh, organic Romaine with a ton of thinly sliced local organic radishes and aromatic herbs - a good fistful of your own chives, if you're lucky enough to have a pot of them - and drizzle over a creamy dressing.