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Had some canned artichoke hearts stuffed with seafood, which I'd brought back from Spain, for lunch yesterday. Quite tasty, but again the artichokes turned to mush as soon as the fork touched them. The reason why canned or bottled red pimientos work is because their texture out of the bottle is similar to that which you get by grilling and skinning fresh ones. The discrepancy between bottled and fresh is far less marked. To me a pleasure in eating fresh aparagus is its slight bite and resistance, getting the juice to burst out in the mouth while they're still warm. I've never had this from canned ones no matter how acceptable the flavour.

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Allow me to say that you give the impression of being incorrigible, Tony. Why don't you attempt the good old, and safe, empirical approach? Try the ones I've indicated (which some of the other participants in this thread obviously know well), and then opine about them... Prejudice is not a good adviser, in things culinary as in all walks of life.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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oh, vserna, you couldn't care more about those cojonudos if they were part of your own body :smile:

I got those asparagus as a present from a friend who had been in Spain. He told me they were a wonderful and expensive delicacy, the best asparagus in the world! We also laughed a lot about the sexual double meaning of their name. I didn't measure them, so I can't assure that they were just 1 inch in diameter...but they were really big. If they were mock and not true cojonudos, it's not my fault!

Anyway, I tell you again that I'm not maintaining that they were bad...they were good. But I also have the right to like more the fresh ones, which are pretty diffused also in our "covered markets" (i.e. Genoa's Mercato Orientale-style) in Italy.

As for pimientos, I agree with Tonyfinch. They seem to suffer from the canning procedure less than other vegetables, and the pimientos del piquillo I tasted were delicious, as I said.

Pongi

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Re-read my post, pongi: "Except when you're eating one-day-old fresh asparagus..." Only top-notch fresh asparagus, just picked, can beat this type of vegetable, I wrote. That's my only point. I'm not saying that a canned vegetable can beat a great, just-picked, just cooked asparagus.

Your white asparagus is in season March-June or so. So if you crave come in September, have a can and leave well enough alone. Or eat some Peruvian asparagus. You may love it. It's stringier, less perfumed than Navarra asparagus.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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I think we're missing the point of the canned and/or jarred asparagus. I don't think we should be comparing canned asparagus to fresh asparagus and arguing which is better just like we wouldn't be comparing canned tuna to fresh tuna. They are simply different and should be enjoyed in their own right. I doubt any chef, spanish or otherwise, would be saucing canned asparagus the same way he'd be saucing fresh asparagus in that the flavors and textures and possibly the serving temperatures are much different.

I love shellfish and had a most enjoyable lunch in Barcelona eating canned clams, mussels, etc. It was great but I never even thought to ask myself if I thought they were better/worse than  fresh clams and mussels. They are just different. Enjoy them for waht they are.

I like Sammy's approach. As I was reading through these posts, a couple of things occurred to me: 1) During the same meal in Spain, I would gladly eat fresh white asparagus and down a couple of the canned asparagus as well; 2) the best canned white asparagus and piquillos from Spain are not mushy, not too soft. I have had "mushy" white asparagus in Spain and I agree they are disappointing, same with piquillos, but both the asparagus and the peppers from the best producers are excellent and so is a lot of the tinned seafood.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have to confess I was extremely doubtful about the canned asparagus, but this morning I was in Garcia brothers on the Portobello Road (London), and I bought some of these big canned white asparagus (and some pimientos del piquillo), to see what they are like. I also bought some jamon iberico and a half-bottle of sherry because I like to do things properly.

The asparagus were really quite good -- I was very pleasantly surprised. Excellent flavour; the tips are a little mushy for my taste, but well worth it. These ones were not that big, they were only about 1cm in diameter.

I have always been a big fan of canned tuna, especially the belly. I am summoning up the courage to try some of the clams, and other things. By the way, for any of our English members, in the event that you don't already know about this place, it's a fine shop.

Anyway, it's very nice to find out that my prejudices were wrong -- I think these cojonudos will probably be a staple of my store cupboard.

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These ones were not that big, they were only about 1cm in diameter.

As the abundant spam we're all receiving these days (on a different type of cylinder) emphatically states, size matters! :rolleyes: Now imagine those asparagus, three times as thick.......

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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Regarding "Size matters":

These asparagus do come in different sizes, and each box will have the number of asparagus marked on the outside.

For the cojonudos they usually come as 5/7 or 9/12 a box, myself preferring the latter.

The most common are 13/16.

The 5/7 commend by far the highest prize!

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  • 7 months later...

On our recent trip to Spain we bought some canned Lodosa brand piquillo peppers. I opened them the other day and served them cold with fresh boquerones we had also bought at the market in Madrid. To all of our surprise they were very, very spicy, like scotch bonnets or something hot like that. :shock: Wow, they were hot. We have other jars of Lodosa brand piquillo peppers and they were not hot, how is that? There is no indication on the box that they would be hot. And it was not just one, but all of them! Anybody have any comments?

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I don't think so. There's no mention of garlic on the box.

Robert Buxbaum

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Mmmmm, the 'devil piquillos', huh? As treacherous as 'pimientos de Padrón'? I had heard of and also tasted some more 'piquant' (compared with the usual sweetness) piquillos, but never as hot as those you describe. I believe it's indeed a latent risk with capsicums in general - their heat can sometimes accentuate without much forewarning.

Victor de la Serna

elmundovino

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For those of you with green fingers, Seeds Of Italy in London is selling padron seeds, still time to grow them now and get your own harvest if we are in for another hot year.

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