Posted by: Hallie | April 13, 2009

Seasonal Selections: Awesome Asparagus

Awesome Asparagus

 

asparagus_main 

Photo credit (since I accidentally deleted my photos. I don’t how this is only the first time I’ve done that): http://www.assuredproduce.co.uk/ap/consumers/producelibrary.aspx?id=140470

Before I joined a CSA, I had only had asparagus once before. I worked at a hotel in college, and one night they made cream of asparagus soup in the restaurant. It was NASTY, and I was convinced I didn’t like asparagus and never ate it again. Recently, I’ve learned that asparagus can be delicious, when it’s prepared the right way. To me, the vegetable kinda tastes like broccoli, and I love broccoli so I’m down.

Tonight, I tossed some asparagus with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper. I cooked them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. They were ok, but a little mushy. I think the BEST way to prepare them (and the way I’m going with from now on) is grilled. I’ve made Mitch grill asparagus the last few times he barbecued us anything, and it’s definitely the way to go. Mr. Grill wasn’t home yet tonight, so I had to make do. I had the asparagus with some roasted chicken (thank you, grocery store) and a toasted slice of jalapeno-cheese bread. I took a photo, but, see above.

General Asparagus Information

Info from Whole Foods

Selecting

Look for firm, straight, rounded stalks with small, crisp tips. Avoid woody stalks. The girth of the stalk is not important; both thin and thick asparagus can be tender. Fresh asparagus should not have a strong odor. Choose bunches with stalks that are uniform in size to ensure uniform cooking. Available in green, white and purple varieties; white asparagus is less sweet. Asparagus is a spring vegetable with a short seasonal peak, usually best in late April through July.

Storing

Eat fresh asparagus as soon as possible. Keep it in the refrigerator for three to four days max.

Using

Trim the woody ends of asparagus stalks before cooking. Very thick or tough stalks can be peeled, though peeling is not necessary. Asparagus can be boiled, steamed, grilled or roasted. Lightly steamed asparagus is wonderful with just a bit of high quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Nutrition Information

Asparagus is a good source of vitamin C and also supplies iron, folate, beta-carotene and glutathione (an antioxidant).

Fast Fact

Asparagus has historically been used medicinally to relieve indigestion and as a sedative.

Bacon-Wrapped Garlic Asparagus Bundles
Penne With Asparagus And Cherry Tomatoes
Asparagus And Brown Rice (from 101 Cookbooks, a GREAT vegetarian recipe blog)

How else can I make asparagus so it won’t get mushy?

I’d love to experiment with asparagus in a stir fry or soup…although my memories of asparagus soup are tainted from the cream-of-yuck soup back in the day.

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Responses

  1. I thought I hated asparagus until I had it in lasagna and now I’m in love! It’s so good 🙂

  2. Ziploc Steam Bags for the win! Best and easiest way to prepare asparagus spears!

    I also will boil them w/ some water and garlic for ~7 min and mix it into cous cous, quinoa, or pastas. YUM. I love asparagus! Also divine w/ some balsamic drizzled on top!

  3. Asparagus might be my new favorite veggie it’s so delicious, i’ll definitely have to try it grilled!

  4. Yay! I love this because I had asparagus last night!

  5. Steamed is awesome, and easy. I second Leah’s vote for the Ziploc steam bags.

  6. I’ll bet you could saute it a bit just to soften it up, and then you would really be able to watch it closely and remove it before it got soggy.

    As for me, I love mine roasted in the oven until it is nice and caramelized and also, yes, a bit soggy! 🙂

  7. Yum!! I love it stir-fried, too, esp with onions and red, yellow and orange bell-peppers!

    I’ve been trimming off the woody ends and storing it upright in a large yogurt container on the counter with a few inches of water in the bottom. It stays fresh for days!

  8. I love asparagus! I’ve been eating it every day lately.

  9. How long do you cook asparagus in the microwave for in the ziplock steam bags?
    My new eat clean diet calls for a LOT of it and I need to find the yummiest recipe for it!!

    • Rachel…I have no idea! I’ve only roasted them in the oven or stir-fried them on the stove. I would guess maybe three minutes…but that’s a total guess! Sorry about that.


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