Imagine the day, long ago before the early 1800's, when these green shoots appeared in southern markets and Creole cooks held them in awe, some toying with the idea as these being oversize fern fronds, or even sparrow's grass as some referred to it. A delicacy only the wealthy could afford, some feared these spears as the berries are very poisonous. In the finer restaurants, folks ordered Pointes d'Asperges au Beurre, or as we would say, asparagus tips in butter… and probably hawked full dinner courses upwards of a three Liberty head double eagle, one of New Orleans Mint's better coins.
I spotted these spears in a market and grab a bunch knowing all along what I was gonna do. It's unusual to see these pretties this small during late summer, I saw these babies were from Peru and that's just fine with me. This is a side dish we enjoy very early in the spring or when the shoots are small and slender, meaning extraordinarily tender. Other times of the year we slice the shoots in quarter-inch thick slices horizontally the whole length of the spear. Quick cooking is the key which is why I like to steam them but a quick boil will do just fine.