I stood in produce peering at the asparagus special with two other shoppers. Green, white, and purple asparagus were all on sale at the same price. The two other shoppers discussed the colors and whether there was a flavor difference. I grabbed a bounded pound of purple asparagus, hoping I could cook it just long enough to make it tender, but not so long that it lost its pretty color.
"Have you had purple asparagus before? What does it taste like?" one woman asked.
"I don't think I have. I've had white and didn't care for it," I answered. "I think they must be similar to purple beans. They are pretty raw but as soon as you blanch them the color disappears."
My instincts were right. If blanched, the purple will dull. But when roasted (add some olive oil, salt, and lemon zest), they pale only slightly. I love asparagus-Brie pizza, and using purple asparagus will add a new dimension to the pie. Nutritionally, purple asparagus is 20% higher in sugar than their white and green counterparts, and lower in fiber. Because of that sugar, purple asparagus are less bitter and, I think, even tastier than its siblings.