Magazine article Psychology Today

A Perfect Food?

Magazine article Psychology Today

A Perfect Food?

Article excerpt

(PT RECIPE)

It's time for spears without peers. By Hara Estroff Marano

SO RICH is it in so many nutrients and bioactive compounds that asparagus is often hailed as one of nature's perfect foods, and festivals around the world- at least two in the U.S.- celebrate the emergence of the asparagus crop each spring. France's King Louis XIV had special greenhouses built just to keep him in spears. Asparagus contains more folic acid than any other fruit or vegetable, an abundance of vitamins, includingB and C, and a remarkable array of minerals. It carries a rich payload of antioxidants, many with anti-inflammatory properties that protect the nervous system. Tasty, versatile, and fast-cooking, it is also among the few foods with a low burden of pesticides.

Because asparagus is more perishable than many other vegetables, it's best if market-to-table time is minimized. Look for smooth, bright green spears of uniform thickness with tightly closed tips. They can retain their freshness for a day or two in the refrigerator if the stalks are lightly trimmed and either wrapped in a damp paper towel or placed upright in ajar with a scant inch of water and covered loosely in plastic wrap.

Stir-Fried Asparagus And Beef

* SERVINGS: Four

* TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 small flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain (place steak in freezer a half hour before slicing)

2 bunches of asparagus, bottoms trimmed, cut diagonally in 2-inch pieces

1 bunch of scullions, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces

21-inch pieces of fresh ginger peeled and thinly sliced

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup mirin (or sake or sherry)

2 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp fish sauce (optional)

2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Directions

* Heat oil in heavy wok or sauté pan. …

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