Great good greens

Asparagus Day One came scarily early in the middle of March, in the middle of a torrid 10-day summer that bloomed out all things at once. The combination of beauty -- redbuds/iris/daffodils/tulips/dogwoods/apples/weeping cherries/peach/crabapples/lilacs/viburnum/pansies and who knows what all in bloom at the same time -- and certain death-by-freezing could not be resisted.

After the inevitable April freeze, the asparagus stopped coming for at least two weeks. But this week, April 24, to be exact, a wonderful thing happened in our kitchen: Salad made of a peppery baby mesclun mix plus lots of added baby arugula, vinaigrette, asparagus on top. An entire salad bowl of food from our garden, if we ignore the vinaigrette.

But the vinaigrette made the whole thing spectacular. Three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, one tablespoon red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard (about a thumb's width on a table knife blade, as prescribed in James and Kay Salter's book, Life is Meals), kosher salt, black pepper. I said to the man at my left, my beloved companion in dining and in life, "I can't imagine anything in the world that would taste better than this."