Cooking with Asparagus - Recipes & Methods


asparagus recipesUntil recently, I was unknown to the culinary world of asparagus, or its health benefits. But since I started blogging about food, I have seen so many different ways to cook asparagus, that I was inspired to give this perennial herb a try. Low in calories and packed full of nutrients like Folic Acid, Vitamin K, potassium and flavonoids, its a boon for the body. And the best part, you can serve it in several innovative ways or pair it with your food to get some greens into your system. And if you don't like them plain (like me!), don't worry, one of the different methods and recipes listed below will surely suit your style and taste!

Few would know that "Asparagus" are actually the young shoots of a cultivated lily plant. They're considered to be a "vegetarian delicacy", which I'm sure you'd agree if you've paid for a bunch of these at the supermarket! They have a distinct, intense savoury flavour, and while French asparagus is purple, the British and American varieties are green. In contrast, Spanish and much of Dutch asparagus is white, as it's grown beneath the soil and cut just as the tips emerge.

Being my first time, I wanted something quick and tasty to ease myself into the "eat asparagus" syndrome. I have eaten it with pasta before, but never really got to enjoy cooking it at home. I opted for the easy stir-fried asparagus with garlic, seasoning and a dash of parmesan for my first project, but now that I have developed a taste for it, I'll be trying more adventurous things with these greens! Meanwhile, here's a look at different ways to cook asparagus.

Note: Always be careful to wash asparagus spears in cool water to clean any soil or sand clinging to the tips. Then bend the spears so that they snap at the natural breaking points, or remove the two ends with a knife. Now you are ready to cook them using any of the methods below.

Boiling
Boil asparagus in 1-2 inch of salted water in a wide skillet or pan for 3 to 5 minutes. Immediately rinse them under cool water to stop the cooking and preserve the bright green color. Boil the asparagus with butter and onions, then add some seasoning, broth and heavy cream and blend to make a delicious Asparagus Soup

Steaming
You can even steam asparagus spears or pieces for 3-4 minutes using a standard steam cooker; just rinse under cool water after done so they don't become too limp. Add the semi-boiled asparagus to a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, then add pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, some lemon juice and salt/pepper for a delicious take on Cooked Asparagus Better yet, whisk an egg in a small bowl, and some bread or cracker crumbs in a separate bowl. Dip the steamed asparagus pieces into the egg, then coat with cracker crumbs, and fry in hot oil until golden to make easy Asparagus Fritters.

Roasting
Bake or Roast asparagus in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F for for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender. This method is generally preferred for thicker spears, and I particularly love it as it makes the stalks more crispier compared to steaming or boiling. Roasting asparagus is an easy, and flavorful way to enjoy these delicious green spears. The flavor is concentrated as the asparagus turns a deep, dark green. A topping of chopped nuts toasted in butter and olive oil, combined with some fresh salt and pepper makes for a great Roasted Asparagus Salad

Stir-Frying
Just like any other green beans, you can stir-fry 2-inch lengths of asparagus with some light oil, salt, pepper and seasoning. You can also add some finely chopped garlic while sauteeing the stems. Add these seasoned stalks to your favorite pasta, mix all in a creamy wine sauce, and you have an easy and delicious Pasta recipe with Asparagus.

Grilling
As barbecue season sets in, Grilled Asparagus can be an easy way to relish the greens. You can arrange smaller pieces of asparagus on skewers along with other veggies and grill them over a bbq. Just brush them with some olive oil and keep turning it around on the grill over medium heat, until the edges get browned and the stems are barely tender-crisp (about 5-7 mins). Drizzle with some lemon or orange juice, cajun seasoning and fresh parmesan cheese for a quick appetizer.

Choosing & Storing Asparagus - It is generally in season from May to July, and is best cooked within 2-3 days of purchase, just like any other vegetables. The tips should be tightly curled and perky; choose stalks that are firm and straight, rather than limp and wilted. You can wrap asparagus shoots in damp kitchen paper, put them in a perforated paper or plastic bag and keep in the salad drawer of the fridge; you can also store it in a glass or jug of cold water in the fridge for 3-4 days.

I was thrilled to have discovered so many lovely recipes using Asparagus. From appetizers to soups and pastas to salads, it is one of the most versatile veggies! And with so many different ways to cook asparagus, there's no way you can resist including these lovely summer stalks in your daily menu, right? If you have some favorite asparagus recipes to share, please add them here via comments.


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28 comments :

Anonymous said...

I love asparagus, and thanks so much for sharing all those delicious ways to cook it!!

-david

Rachel said...

I acquired a taste for asparagus..I don't get them that often wherre I live..When it is available,...I love them boiled with a generous amount of salad dressing

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Hi...
That was a useful post. Great spread of information....

Maheswari said...

Me too never tried or to say dared to try asparagus till now.Your writeup have insipired me too try some.Thanks for sharing...

sarah said...

I always used to use asparagus for salads, but with this awesome writeup and all the wonderful recipes you've shared, I'm so excited to get the ball rolling!!:)

thanks!

~sarah

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

I was also hesitant to try out asparagus until now...its high time i did it!! thanks mansi!

Superchef said...

thanks for those tid bits... :) ive so far never been a fan of asparagus because of the steamed asparagus u get with boiled potatoes in the flight (if u opt for veggie food!!)...looks like i can try and convince myself thats theres more to asparagus than just steaming them! :)

Mansi Desai said...

hehehe, I'm actually kind of relieved to see that there are at least a few like me who have the qualms for asparagus!:) but believe me, it deserves a second chance, and I'm sure these recipes won't disappoint you!:)D

Laavanya said...

Roasting it was made me like it... I have a good marinade for it.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Great post! Sometimes the best dishes are the simplest ones. I love fresh asparagus prepared simply, just like your stir fry. Let the flavor shine through!

glamah16 said...

I love to grill it in the summer. One of my favorite vegetables.

Richa said...

nice tutorial on the asp :)

LG said...

Never tried asparagus though heard about its goodness. Your post is tempting me to try it.

Madhuram said...

Very descriptive post Mansi. Usually we just roast it. Today only Dee was telling me about her indianized version of asparagus, to the tadka, add the asparagus cut into small pieces, stir fry it and adding coconut.

Aparna said...

Liked asparagus the few times I've had it (but not just boiled!).
Don't get it here so I'll have to wait till the day I find it.:(

Asha said...

Great post! Stir fry is the easiest thing to do to Asps, love it!))

JZ @ Tasty treats said...

hiya, mansi, check out my blog for a special gift! two surpirses waiting for u!

Chuck said...

Thank you for the informative post. Just the other day I bought some stunning Asparagus and am looking forward to cooking a batch. Your post was very helpful. Thank you!

Mansi Desai said...

I'm certainly happy that this post helped people overcome the initial "asparagus inhibitions", just like me. It's a wonderful veggie and I hope you all can enjoy it in one way or the other!:) I really enjoyed scouring the web for recipes and writing this post:)

Meeta said...

I love asparagus - always have and right now we're eating it by the truckloads. My fave way is drizzling it with olive oil, touch of balsamic vinegar and grilling on a charcoal grill.
Last year I featured asparagus in my Know-How section - you'll find out more there. Hope you enjoy the veggie Mansi!

Kalyn said...

I love asparagus! Lots of good ideas here.

Hetal said...

Thanks for sharing this information....have never tasted asparagus,will surely try it now..

Simply...Gluten-free said...

I love asparagus! Great post!

farida said...

This is such an informative post! I will surely bookmark it to get some fresh ideas when I buy asparagus next time I'm in the market.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I was always a bit put off by the taste of asparagus, but a couple of years ago I learned about roasting it and since then, it's become a favorite of mine. Roasting it really mellows out the flavor. I like to roast it and toss it in a little hazelnut oil.

I find no matter how it's cooked, it still has that odd little side effect in the bathroom though. ;-)

katiez said...

I can never get too much asparagus - any color. Our season is almost at an end, here, tho...sigh!

Asparagus Salad Recipe said...

I usually make some kind of meat for dinner and serve with a veggie side dish but I am running out of good veggie recipes. I normally make roasted asparagus or baked or mashed potatoes but they are getting old.

White Asparagus said...

Ah great recipe. Gonna try it out tommorow with white asparagus, maybe that will also be good. Still have some in the kitchen.