Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Asparagus is an extraordinarily healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. It is available in three different varieties: white, purple, and green, which is the most common grocery-store variety. Fortunately, it is easy to cook regardless of the variety, and many chefs believe that keeping it simple is the best way to serve asparagus. It can be eaten hot or cold. The most popular ways to cook asparagus are to steam, boil, or roast it. Often, it is prepared with just a little bit of butter or olive oil. For a more summery taste, grilling is an easy and delicious way to cook asparagus.
Regardless of the way the asparagus will be cooked, it is generally a good idea to chop off the wide ends, which can be very tough and chewy. If the asparagus will not be prepared right away, banding it together with a rubber band and standing it upright in a glass of water in the fridge is a great way to keep it fresh. Once it is time to cook asparagus, there are a few options. Boiling or steaming asparagus is easy, and is also a very healthy way to prepare vegetables.
There are a few different ways to steam asparagus. The first is to simply lay the asparagus in a bowl with a little bit of water, cover it, and microwave it for a few minutes until it is tender. The second is to band the asparagus together, stand it in a few inches of water in a bot, cover and boil it. The third is to actually use a double-boiler and steam the vegetables that way. Boiling the asparagus flat, in a few inches of water in a saucepan, is another easy way to cook or blanch it, which will require immediately running it under cold water. It can then be served cold.
Roasting or grilling can also be great ways to cook asparagus, and really bring out the flavor. It generally only takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a 400;° to 450;° F oven (about 200;° to 230;° C), and many people just drizzle it with a bit of olive oil first. Grilling will only take a few minutes as well. As there are many ways to cook asparagus, there are also many ways to serve it; olive oil and butter are common, and some people also add garlic, parmesan cheese, or lemon juice, just to name a few. Wrapping asparagus in bacon is always a big hit as a savory side dish.
I like to wrap strips of bacon or thin sliced ham around asparagus and then roast it. That's really, really good!
I have a recipe for a mustard maple glaze for bacon-wrapped asparagus that just takes the dish to the next level. Super easy, but *so* tasty!
It took me a long time to warm up to asparagus, until I had it roasted. Then I really liked it. I still don't like it steamed, although I will eat it in an asparagus casserole. That's good, too. It does have a strong taste that takes some getting used to.
Roasting asparagus in the oven is the easiest way by far to fix it. All you have to do is place the spears on foil, season with salt and pepper, drizzle olive oil over the spears, and bake for about 15 minutes or so. It never fails.
I like roasted asparagus with a sauce made from wholegrain mustard, melted butter and lemon juice, but a lot of people like hollandaise. I have made hollandaise successfully. I used Julia Child's blender hollandaise and it was great. The recipe is everywhere online. It's much easier and more reliable than the traditional hollandaise, which will "break" in a heartbeat, if you're not extremely careful.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!