3 Ways to Cook Asparagus
Asparagus is a fibrous green veggie most notably eaten in spring time; peak season for this crop is April although you can find it seasonally from February to June in the US. Even though asparagus is known for its diuretic properties (why all the bodybuilders chow down on it) it is also a great source of fiber, folate, and several vitamins like A, C, and E.
I've cooked my fair share of asparagus, and we used to have a love/hate relationship until I really figured out how to cook it in a way that I could digest it well, and that still maintained some if its crunch. I'll offer three different ways to prepare it, but will highlight my 15 minute roasted asparagus recipe that is sure to be a champion at your dinner table.
When preparing asparagus, there's also a debate on what to do with the inedible, woody ends of asparagus. What works best for me is either cutting or breaking those ends off and composting them. That leaves the softer, more crunchy stalks remaining for cooking. Some people just roast or cook the stalk as it stands, and I'll say that is a personal preference. I've certainly done it that way myself too to save time and reduce waste, but what I have found over the years is that breaking off that woody end works best for me. I'll leave a video at the end on how I snap off the woody stalks in case you're interested.
Ok so back to the prep. My go-to roasted asparagus recipe is to wash, prep the stalks, and preheat the oven to 400'F. Sometimes I line my baking sheets with compostable parchment paper if I am going to be using the baking sheet for cooking multiple things over the course of an afternoon. I roll the stalks in a little bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some garlic powder. Option: in this photo I added some lemon slices and fresh rosemary from the crop share because that's what I had on hand. Bake this for 15 minutes and presto! Easy roasted asparagus. See below for the other two cooking methods.
The other two options I have only tried a handful of times and will mention for those of you who like quick fixes or who are into the one-pot wonders. Steaming asparagus is another even easier way to prep these stalks, and takes 3-5 minutes. Put a thin layer of water in a microwaveable dish, maybe half inch or less, then add in the asparagus stalks. Microwave for 3-5 minutes and you'll have crunchy asparagus in no time. Certainly you can also steam over the stovetop.
A final option I'll mention is to chop the raw bits and throw them in something else you are already cooking like a soup, stir fry, or frittata/quiche. Asparagus can be as versatile as you want it to be, so take advantage of this spring crop and add some green to your day - the asparagus way!