How to Cook easy and yummy asparagus? Is it complicated? Cooking asparagus can be so easy that this section of the site could be over in just a few words, however there are far more ways to cook asparagus than you might think. Not only will we show you how to cook asparagus but we will also look at some more unusual methods including pickling, deep frying, blanching,broiling, sauteing, stir frying, grilling, roasting.
Thick or Thin Asparagus? Each asparagus has its fans. Thin asparagus is tender with a slightly crisp center. Thick asparagus has more of a meaty center and therefore more crunch and texture. For thick asparagus spears, peel off the woody outside part–about 2 inches up from the stem end–with a vegetable peeler.
How to prepare asparagus for cooking
Preparing asparagus for cooking is quick and easy. Should you wash asparagus? well I guess that comes down to personal choice, but it is adviseable to wash any vegetables unless you know exactly what is on them because you grew them! A quick rinse in cold water will do the job.
The feathery end of the asparagus stalk is the really tender tasty part but the rest of the stem has plenty of flavour and only the thicker end is tough. So there are two schools of thought as to how and where to cut the asparagus stalk.
I tend to go with the snap it off method. This involves holding each stalk about half way down its length and at the thick end then bending it until it snaps. The short stubby whitish end is discarded and the green end cooked. (or you might want to hold onto the short end and use it in a soup or casserole for extra flavour). You can do this really quickly once you get the knack.
The alternative is to place the stalks on a chopping board and cut the ends of about 3-5cm from the end. This will work fine when you get to know how tough the stalks get but I’d go with the snapping method any day.
Beware the floppy asparagus. If your asparagus is not as fresh as it might be it won’t snap as well. Try putting it in some water (like a bunch of flowers for a while) you might just revive it and make it taste fresher!
Because asparagus is grown in sandy soil, rinse the spears — especially the tips — with cold water. Snap off the woody base of each spear by bending the spear a few times to find a place where it breaks easily. This is usually around the bottom third of the spear and where the woody part starts to turn tender. If desired, scrape off the scales on the spears with a vegetable peeler. This gives the spears a smooth, clean look and is especially beneficial for tough or fat spears.
Cooking methods (based on cooking 1 pound asparagus)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place asparagus on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss lightly to coat. If desired, season with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until crisp-tender, lightly tossing twice during roasting. If desired, season with herbs and lemon.
Place a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket. Bring water to boiling. Add asparagus to steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Lay the asparagus spears in a large skillet and top with 1 inch of water. Lightly salt the water and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
How to cook asparagus on the grill ?
Generously brush asparagus with olive oil or melted butter or margarine. This keeps the spears from sticking to the grill rack. Place asparagus on a piece of heavy foil or directly on a grill rack, perpendicular to the wires on the rack. For a charcoal grill, place asparagus on grill rack directly over the coals. Grill, uncovered, for 7 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally. For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place asparagus on grill rack directly over heat. Grill, covered, for 7 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.
How to cook asparagus in oven ?
Place asparagus in a microwave-safe baking dish or casserole with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) for 2 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
The classic blanching method requires boiling then shocking the asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, resulting in perfectly cooked, yet cold asparagus. To make and serve warm right away without shocking, place asparagus in a single layer in a shallow baking dish. Cover with about 2 cups of boiling salted water. Let stand for 10 to 12 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain; serve warm.You may also like other recipes: