The other day a friend of mine casually mentioned that she wanted to learn how to cook asparagus. I was happy to share my little bit of knowledge on how easy asparagus is to cook, and I hope it helps you too!
Asparagus is great to use for four reasons:
1. Easy to prepare
2. It cooks quickly
3. Requires few ingredients to make it taste great
Easy to prepare
Fresh asparagus is better than frozen, however I have used frozen asparagus and it’s tasted fine, but not as good as fresh. If you have to use frozen, then buy the organic bags because it tastes a bit more robust.
However, for fresh asparagus, rinse well and then snap off the ends. You’ll feel it bend and it will snap on its own.
I’ve seen on TV some chefs recommend scraping the end part of the asparagus to remove the tough skin. I think I’ve done this a few times but honestly, I’m usually feeling too lazy for this step. Although if using the asparagus chopped as part of meal – I would recommend this as you will get more out of it and it’s going to cook anyway.
So you rinse and snap. Now you’re done with preparing and ready to cook.
Cooking asparagus is very simple indeed. Simply place in a frying pan so it’s a nice single layer, pour water on top, but not to cover fully.
Heat the water to a boil and then turn down to medium and cook until the asparagus turns bright green and you have an ever so slight crunch when you pierce it with a fork.
Drain and remove to plate.
So far all we’ve used is water and asparagus. However there are so many things that can be added to make it more flavorful. Here are some ideas:
1. After draining the water, add balsamic vinegar to the pan and move the asparagus around to coat. Heat and serve. Some people might say to cook the asparagus in more of the balsamic, and personally you can do whatever you want. I’m not in love with balsamic vinegar unless mixed with tomatoes so I don’t use a lot.
2. Good old standby – butter. Drain the water then add some butter, making sure the asparagus pick up the flavor as it melts
3. Salt – add a dash of salt and pepper for some basic flavor however honestly, I have never used salt and pepper b/c I rarely add salt to food and don’t like pepper
4. Slices of Romano Cheese – use some shaved slices of hard Romano cheese and add it to the asparagus after you plate
5. Lemon – drizzle with some fresh lemon (or lemon juice if that’s what you have on hand)
Asparagus has lots of healthy nutrients. To name a few are: Vitamin K, folate, copper, B1 and B2. There are more but those are a few I’ve listed.
I hope you give it a try – it’s much easier than one would think, and although at the low end it might be $1.99 a pound, it’s completely worth every penny! Enjoy!