A member of the lily family, this perennial favorite is best in early spring. Look for firm, bright green stalks with compact tips. (Or try fancy white asparagus, grown under mulch or dirt to prevent greening.) Refrigerate upright in a container with an inch of water in the bottom; arrange a plastic bag loosely around the tops. Snap or trim tough ends before use.

Combine steamed, chopped asparagus with cooked quinoa or couscous, crumbled feta cheese, black olives, and sliced green onions. Drizzle with a lemon-flaxseed oil dressing and toss.

Place spears in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toss with olive oil and kosher salt. Roast at 450 degrees until tender and browned, about ten minutes. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

Blanch asparagus, then cool and chop. Fold into an omelet with goat cheese,fresh chopped dill, and sautéed mushrooms. Also, look for recipes for Asparagus Soup; Asparagus and Red-Pepper Strata; and Roasted Asparagus with Creamy Dill-Chervil Sauce at deliciousliving.com.

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