il violetto



asparagus prostratus violetto. long ago, rumored from italy, grown then and there in the region around albenga, on the ligurian riviera, somewhat between genova and nice. a nice place to eat this sensuously sweet asparagus, the ‘violetta’ kind. no, i am not on the riviera, not even close. but i found the purple at the coop in ashland, of all places.


stephanie and i lodge in town for a week or so. as fran cautions: when you go to america, bring your own food, and it holds true, mostly. so, i packed all kinds of provisions, pans, knifes, dishes, glasses and silverware. a case of pinot gris, campari and gerolsteiner. i loaded the car with pasta and sauces, brined filet and a pork tenderloin. pee-wee potatoes and maitake, prociutto cotto and salami, you’d think we’d be gone for a month. i am careful with food, consumed you might say, obsessed even, a child of war’s rations, hence hoarding the precious, and hell, who knew ashland would own up to a coop readily rivaling markets back home, yes, san francisco even. they sold fat stalks of the ‘violetto’, three-fifty a pound and worth it, every lush inch. not only that, imagine, they offered fresh salmon, wild oregon king, and they sold rosemary ciabatta, butter from strauss and all sorts of greens, moreover mesclun. deep orange yolk eggs, tiny, layed by cubalayas, those fighting birds of cuba, though now domestic, free range on a farm up the road from ashland. imagine.


the place we room at has a microwave and a toaster, and a leisurely slow hotplate. so i invent ways to cook with what i’ve rarely had need to. i nuke. three minutes for mushrooms, done up in a half stick of butter. drained, the remnant liquid sluiced over the ‘violetto’, and zapped for four, turning green in the process, excepting the purple hue, crowning the bulb. drained again, the juicy melange rolled into marbles, those bantam potatoes imported from portland. i had no notions for the fish. none. so i blitzed the king and it turned out so very delicious and pretty, soft pinkish out and roguishly red, raw almost, within.
health food at that. the omega three fish, the anthocyanins inside the violetto, the pedicled spear diuretic and laxative, beneficial to kidneys, liver and bowels. potatoes and mushrooms to carry the butter, may arteries fry in hell.