Here is a guide to cooking asparagus, it covers everything from buying to boiling and how to store your asparagus. Take your time and read through it and you will get a perfect result.
Before you can start cooking it is important that you select some fresh asparagus because the sugar in the plant begins to convert into starch right after harvesting. This causes the asparagus to develop a woody texture and gives a loss of flavour. This is why you should always buy bundles that have been refrigerated or kept on ice. And don’t keep them laying around for more than two to three days.
When selecting asparagus look for stalks with tightly-closed tips that are rich green, smooth and firm. A dull green color and ridges in the stems are a clear indication of old age. When you look at the cut make sure that the stalks are neither limp nor dry. For more control during cooking select stalks of uniform thickness
How To Prepare Asparagus
Preparing asparagus is quite easy, wash them by softly sloshing them about in a bowl of cold water. Use you fingers to gently remove any dirt or sand form the stalks. Cut of any tough ends and then quickly start cooking them or eat them raw with a dash of olive oil.
There are many ways to cook asparagus below are summaries of the different cooking methods. Click the links to go to more in-depth cooking guide.
Stir Frying – Cut the spears into pieces, add a teaspoon of olive to a pan or wok and stir fry for about 3 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
Boiling – To boil the asparagus simply boil them for five minutes or until tender in three inches of water. The boiling time may vary depending on the thickness of the stalks
Blanch – Get a big pot, fill about half of it with water and add two teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil when the water is boiling put in the asparagus. Partially cover the pot and wait until the water starts to boil quickly again, uncover the pot and let it cook for 5-8 minutes. When finished move the asparagus to some cold water to stop the cooking process. This insures that they stay crisp and keeps their color.
Steaming – Start by tying the asparagus spears together using cooking string. Tie them both at the bottom and just under the tips. Make sure the bottom ends are at the same level. If you don’t have an asparagus steamer then place the asparagus in two to three inches of boiling water standing up. Cover and steam for five to eight minutes until the tips are tender. Doing it this way you actually boil the bottom ends and steam the tops. To get the best result only steam the youngest, most tender asparagus.
Roasting – Heat the oven to 450 degree. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil over them. Roast for about 10-15 minutes.
Grilling – Coat the spears with olive oil and place them on a preheated grill. Grill them for about 5-8 minutes remember to turn them occasionally.
Microwaving – Get a microwave-safe baking dish and lay the asparagus in a circle with the tips pointing to the center. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover. Microwave for about 4 minutes or until done.
Never wash or soak asparagus if you want to store them. Cut the ends of the spears and put them in a jar standing upright. Put about an inch of water in the bottom of the jar. Cover with some plastic or a plastic bag, remember to poke some holes in the plastic to let the asparagus breath. Store them in the refrigerator for two to three days.
If you found this post helpful please share it and leave a comment, I really appreciate your feedback.