Asparagus is a very delicious vegetable which is loved by millions of people in different countries. But before we move on to explaining how to cook asparagus1, we want to tell you some interesting facts about it:
Asparagus is high in many vitamins (C, B6, etc), folate2, fiber, glutathione3, antioxidant, and anti-carcinogen.
Asparagus can be green, purple or white, but the most popular variety is the green one.
Asparagus can be thin and thick, but its size should not be regarded as quality indicator.
When you choose asparagus, give preference to firm, uniformly sized, straight spears which have closed tips.
Fresh asparagus is cheapest in May, but you can buy it canned and frozen all the year round.
Asparagus deteriorates quickly, so try to use it within a couple of days after buying.
If you need to keep asparagus for several days, you should better place spears upright in a vase filled with cold water. You can also wrap them in a damp towel and place into a fridge.
Now that you know how useful this vegetable is for your health, how to choose and store it, we can start teaching you how to cook asparagus.
Prepping Asparagus for Cooking
Before you start cooking asparagus, you should rinse it with cold water, paying special attention to the tips of the spears. Then delete tough, woody ends. You can also scrape off scales that grow on the spears. It is convenient to do it with a special vegetable peeler.
If you do it, the spears will be clean and smooth.
Ways of Cooking Asparagus
Some people prefer to eat fresh asparagus with olive oil, but one can cook it in many ways. It is impossible to describe all the recipes, so we will give you basic rules of preparing asparagus.
Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place asparagus on baking sheet or dish drizzled with olive oil or coated with cooking spray. Roast the spears uncovered for approximately fifteen minutes (depending on their thickness). Season them with pepper, salt, lemon or herb (if desired).
Lay the spears into a large frying pan and top them with one inch of pure water. Salt it, cover with a lid, and simmer for three-five minutes.
You will need a steamer basket for cooking asparagus in this way. Put the basket into a saucepan, add water below its bottom and boil the water. Place asparagus into the basket, put on the lid and steam for about five-seven minutes. Some cooks tie the spears together with special kitchen string.
Brush the asparagus spears with melted butter, margarine or olive oil generously. Place them on a grill rack (you can also lay heavy foil under them). Grill them uncovered for about ten minutes, turning from time to time.
You can also cook asparagus in a regular microwave oven. Put it into a special baking dish, add a couple of tablespoons of water, cover and cook for up to five minutes.
Another way of cooking asparagus is blanching. You can use if you need to prepare asparagus for cold dishes or salads. You just have to boil the spears and then put them into icy water.
Cooking Asparagus Salad
Now that you know the basic ways of cooking asparagus, we will teach you how to make a delicious asparagus salad.
You will need the following ingredients:
1 lb fresh asparagus
0.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp prepared mustard
2 tbsp salad oil
2 tbsp vinegar
2.5 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp red bell pepper (roasted)
Cook and drain asparagus. Place it in a dish. Combine mustard, salt, vinegar, oil and finely chopped onion. Pour the mixture over the asparagus. Cover the salad with a lid and chill it for a couple of hours. Then drain off the excessive marinade and serve the salad on plates lined with lettuce. Sprinkle it with roasted pepper.