Asparagus is the darling of spring, emblematic of the very season, fleeting and fresh as morning. We picked the young spears and dropped them in a salt brine. They ferment for a short time only, and their freshness is preserved by the salty soaking. Because they are not cooked, but softened just slightly by the brining, their raw flavor, somehow reminiscent of fresh snow peas, is showcased in a way that we do not usually get to taste. Too long in the brine will render them funky; not bad, necessarily, but very definitely… fermented. Three to five days in the brine, however, makes them sparkle and snap with just their essential sweetness, a salty tingle on the tongue, like the answer to a question that leaves you hungry for another. And another. Drop a few into a Bloody Mary, and ponder their mystery at length. Also perfect atop a simple egg dish, or as part of a cheese board.
Wash and trim the asparagus to fit a pint and a half jar, reserving the ends for broth, or other uses. Leave 3/4" at the top of the jar for a weight and brine to cover.
Pack the asparagus into the jar, careful of the fragile tips.
In a separate jar or bowl, dissolve the salt in your non-chlorinated water. Pour the salt bring over the top of the asparagus.
Place a weight, if needed, on top of the asparagus.
Allow the asparagus to ferment out of direct sunlight for three to five days. When it reaches a flavor that is to your liking, remove the airlock, screw on a lid and store in the fridge, where it will keep for several weeks.
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