Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide
If you're looking for a comprehensive and understandable guide to the maze of perennials available, consider the Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide, by Christopher Woods (Checkmark Books, 1992; $50). Trained in England, the author is a gardener's gardener, and this book will both inform and inspire. The text provides information on plants' common name and family name, physical characteristics, landscape use, propagation, major species, and other related information.
Broiled Asparagus with Vinaigrette Sauce
It's asparagus season. Try broiling, rather than steaming, asparagus because it concentrates flavor and lightly caramelizes the surface. The best size spears for broiling is about 1/2 inch thick.
2 pounds asparagus spears
2 tablespoons minced shallots
oil, salt, and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Adjust your broiler rack so that it's 4 inches from the heating element and turn on the broiler. Trim the tough ends from the asparagus spears and toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Lay the spears in a single layer on a heavy-rimmed baking sheet and place under the broiler. Shake the pan or hand turn the spears in about 4 minutes. Continue cooking until the asparagus is tender and lightly browned, or another 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven.
Combine vinaigrette sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Drizzle sauce over asparagus.
Serves 4 to 6.