Asparagus are culinary royalty in France, celebrated when they make their first appearance in spring and always treated very carefully and often very richly, since they pair so well with luxurious egg sauces like mayonnaise or hollandaise. Whether you’re buying green asparagus or the more unusual (and more expensive) white, look for spears that are firm to the touch (avoid those that are wrinkled) and have tightly closed tips. See page 128-9 for information on trimming and cooking asparagus.

Dorie Greenspan