Bye-bye yellow haze

The yellow haze of pine pollen lifted this weekend, and even the pink and purple azaleas in my yard seemed brighter. It would no longer require a complete hose-down and wardrobe change to sit outside, so the grill was running. First, grilled asparagus. It’s the only way to cook asparagus. Roasting in the oven is OK; steaming is a waste of a good vegetable. But grilling, with its crispy-smoky goodness – that is asparagus heaven. Don’t bother with the other methods. All the grilled asparagus needed was a little salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.

I got some thick, meaty fillets of North Carolina striped bass at the Western Wake Farmers Market. Those I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and chopped ginger and garlic. Never marinate fish too long or the texture will become mushy – 15 minutes is plenty. The fish was fairly thick, so it took, maybe 6 to 10 minutes to cook. Better to undercook slightly – and touch up any pieces that need it in the microwave indoors – than overcook fish on the grill.

I put some North Carolina shrimp, boiled in beer and Old Bay, next to it. And a bowl of spring greens (kale, tatsoi, baby spinach, leaves from tender Japanese turnips) sauteed in olive oil, garlic and ginger. A meal that threatened to be healthy, although I wouldn’t hold that against something that tasted so good.