‘Asparagus fanatic’ David Tanis stalks the veg at the market

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Chef David Tanis notes to look for smooth and shiny stalks with tight tips when shopping for asparagus. Photo by Tyler Boudreaux/KCRW

David Tanis, chef/partner of LULU in Westwood, calls himself "an asparagus fanatic."

"Freshness is everything with asparagus," says Tanis. "If you can go to the farmer’s market and get asparagus there, you know it's just been picked. Whereas asparagus you find in the supermarket has days and days on it, and maybe even longer than that with cold storage. Look at the bottom of the stalks, if it looks freshly cut, that's a good sign. You don't want anything that looks brown or soggy, and you want the stalks to be smooth and shiny and the tips to be tight."

Roberto Hernandez of Sun Coast Farms agrees with Tanis about the freshness. He shares that asparagus takes two years to grow, and that the asparagus length is a very important factor in the flavor. "If it grows too long, it will get woody,"he says. Although a frost set the farm back with their asparagus output, new asparagus is still coming in and available for spring dishes.