Within this section is of the aristocrats
of the vegetable domain - the asparagus - along with globe artichokes,
fennel, celery and Belgian endive.
Asparagus is best enjoyed when it is in
season and plentiful at the market. The most common variety is green.
Spears of white asparagus, sold in some markets, are harvested before
they grow aboveground. Asparagus is very perishable and should be
stored, unwashed, in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for no
more than three days.
The globe artichoke is the bud of a plant
in the thistle family. Like asparagus, it is at its best when in season.
Select heavy, compact, plump globes and avoid those with opened or
curled leaves. Artichokes can be stored, unwashed, in the vegetable
crisper of the refrigerator for several days.
Fennel and celery can be interchanged in
some recipes, though their flavors differ noticeably. Fennel has hints
of licorice and is somewhat sweeter than celery. In many recipes, there
is no substitute for the fennel bulb and its sweet, aromatic taste.
Belgian endive (chicory / witloof) has a
slightly bitter flavor and a crisp texture. Heads of endive may be
cooked. Endive is also enjoyed raw, whether sliced or as separate
leaves. Avoid buying heads with brownish leaves. Store endive in the
vegetable crisper of the refrigerator for no more than four days.