The Coupon Clipper scours the specials for the best deals in New York's big grocery stores.
asparagus%20-%204.jpgWe’ve been surviving on some winter staples for past few weeks, especially ones that will keep for many months on the shelf. They’ve kept us fed for less, but we’re getting awfully tired of them. Every spoonful of rice is balanced with a daydream of the spring months to come, and for the fresh crop of great veggies, because they are hard to find right now. One recent asparagus purchase set us back about 5 bucks for a rubber-banded collection of large, limp spears. So thank god for the fresh asparagus they have on sale at Fairway. While hardly at the peak season, these might just be the jolt we need to make it through March.

Boiling or steaming the asparagus may be the classic way to get things done, but we like a little crunch with ours, so we’ll opt for high heat. They always taste better on the grill -- even if a few are always lost to the abyss-- but that’s not much of an option right now. That leaves roasting and broiling. The latter of which requires less time and will safely hold all the spears so none go venturing too close to the light and scorch themselves.

Preheat the broiler for a few minutes. Meanwhile, break off the ends of the spears. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then spread on a baking sheet in one single layer. Place in the broiler for 8-10 minutes, or until they are bright green but show a little char. Make sure to check halfway through and give the pan a good shake so none get stuck.

Then it’s up to you. They are definitely tasty as is, or maybe with a little spritz of lemon. We decided on a little soy and ginger vinaigrette stolen straight from the Cook’s Illustrated. Whisk together 1 chopped scallion, 1/2 inch of minced ginger, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce, the juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2 tablespoon of honey. Then toss with the cooked asparagus. Enjoy that first gleam of spring’s eye. It’s oh so close.