of my favorite spring time vegetables is fresh asparagus. These
days, you can usually find asparagus year-round, but during the
springtime it always seems the freshest and adds such nice color
and flavor to a variety of seasonal dishes. In celebration of
this great vegetable, here are some great tips for buying, storing,
prepping and cooking fresh asparagus.
Choose firm spears with tightly closed tips and avoid the spears
with dried out stems. You can usually plan on 1-1/2 lbs. for every
The proper way to store asparagus is to stand the spears, tips
up, in a container with 1-2 inches of water. Cover the asparagus
with a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Rinse the asparagus thoroughly under cold water. Snap the ends
off (the stalks will break naturally at the point where they begin
to get tough). To add a pretty touch to the asparagus (and remove
any possible tough, stringy skin), peel the bottom part of the
stalk with a vegetable peeler. When the asparagus is blanched
this peeled bottom part will turn a beautiful, bright green.
Methods: When pairing asparagus with sauces or cooking to
use in a recipe, like pasta or a sauté, it is almost always
best to blanch. The added benefit of blanching is that it brings
out the beautiful green of the asparagus and it can be done far
in advance of serving time making the final preparations
much easier and quicker.
Bring a wide pan of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus
and cook until just tender. Drain and immediately submerge in
a bowl of ice water. Let sit for 1 minute, then drain and pat
dry. When ready to serve sauté the asparagus, for about
a minute, in a dab of butter. Season with salt and freshly ground
On a jelly roll baking sheet, toss the asparagus with a little
extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground
black pepper. Roast, stirring occasionally, at 450°F for
10-15 minutes or until tender and lightly browned.
In a large bowl, toss the asparagus with a little olive oil and
season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the asparagus
over a fine mesh rack over a hot flame. Cover and grill, turning
occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, about 10-15 minutes.
Lay the asparagus in a large microwave-safe dish. Add about 1/4
cup water; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Microwave on high
power for 4-6 minutes or until just tender.