I have recently learned to like asparagus, but have no idea how to clean and prepare it. Please help.
I love fresh asparagus. Like fish it does not keep for long and is almost impossible to buy fresh enough to taste good.
I like to rinse it off with cold water to get the sand and any bugs off. Then I put it in a pan of boiling water for a couple minutes. A bit of salt and butter sometimes. Tastes best eaten with your fingers! When the cooking water cools it makes an excellent tea. Were it not for drinking the tea I'd probably just microwave my asparagus until it was hot.
My buddy picks asparagus and pickles it. Interesting but not as good as cooked.
I tend to like thinner asparagus where peeling isn't necessary, just cut or snap off the bottom inch or so of the stem. My favorite way to cook it is simply brushed with olive oil and a light sprinkle of kosher salt, then on a med grill for a couple minutes, turned once, until just tender and starting to char. Same prep but roasted is good, too. I prefer these over steamed asparagus which is what I grew up eating. I also sometimes cut it up into smaller pieces and add it to a stir fry.
Oh, and I just remembered I used to make negimaki (sp?) but replaced the scallion with asparagus. Yum, have not made that in years. Thanks for the reminder!
Learned from a farmers market farmer - and it works- stand the asparagus upside down in a glass of warm water to remove the dirt & any teeney bugs. I do this for about 5 mins - rinse - do it again if they appear to be dirty. The warm water opens the tips that trap the grit. I am in the peel w/ the asparagus peeler (lonely) camp. Family thinks I'm crazy to peel asparagus.
Thanks! Saw some at Sam's Club last night. It was $5.89 for 2 pounds. We didn't buy any, but I sure was tempted!
Snap off the woody ends. You will find that they tend to snap at the right spot to get rid of the tough ends and keep the good part. I steam them lightly so they hold some crunch. I don't like over cooked asparagus. Butter, maybe some lemon juice or zest and a bit of sea salt.
I don't care for hollandaise sauce though it is a typical pairing, I think.
I don't microwave as they seem to cook unevenly for me.
If it's skinny I just wash it, cut off the tough ends and microwave for a couple opf minutes, depending on the amount I have, until bright green and then serve with a little butter and lemon.
Fat asparagus is the best!! I peel the fat stalks....
Sometimes I will heat some EVOO in a big flat frypan, add the asparagus and toss and turn until it loses the raw edge then sprinkle with sesame seeds and a bit of lemon.
O steam it....stand the spears up in a tall pot with a lid so the stem ends are un about an inch of water ands team for about 5 or 6 minutes.
Serve with Hollandaise!
Should have added - remove the tough bottoms of the stalks.
We love roasted asparagus - drizzle with good quality olive oil, kosher salt / fresh ground pepper - Cook on grill (place on aluminum foil or in the oven (450 about 10 mins)
I break the asparagus where it wants to break, and then I use the thicker ends to make cream of asparagus soup. Yum. If I don't want cream of asparagus soup that particular day, or if I don't have enough ends for a pot, I simmer the ends until soft in a small amount of water, and then put them through a food mill...then the water and asparagus mush go into the freezer until I want to make soup.
The tender half gets stir fried, charcoal broiled, oven roasted, or simply simmered. I like to chill cooked asparagus spears to eat with a mayonnaise mixed with just a little soy sauce, or dressed as a salad (chilled) with a Japanese sesame miso dressing. I like my asparagus to have just the slightest bit of crunch left to it...tender, but not mushy.
Sesame Miso dressing (Goma-Miso Ae)
4 T Miso (I like a mix of red & white, but it can be made with either)
2 T sesame seeds (unhulled, not the hulled, flat things)
1 1/2 T sugar
1 T mirin (if you don't have mirin, you can use dry sherry)
Toast the sesame in a dry fry pan over a med-high heat until it is fragrant and starts popping. Then if you have a suribachi (a sort of a mortar that is textured inside), use it to grind the seeds to a sticky powder. If not, put the seeds in a mini food processor or spice mill.
Mix with the rest of the ingredients. The dressing will have a coarse texture. It is very highly flavored, so dip a piece of asparagus first and taste to get an idea how much to pour on.
This dressing is also very good with green beans.
Asparagus is one of the few fresh vegies that my DH likes to eat. I run it under my sprayer (cold water), cut off the ends, and put it in my steamer.
Last price for us was $2.99/lb at the regular stores, $2.39 at the military commissary. But we'll only buy it when the stalks are really thin (pencil thin).
It seems to last for a while in the refrigerator stored upright in a big jar with several inches of water. I cover the whole thing with a loose plastic bag.
My favorite way to eat it is cooked lightly and refrigerated until cold in a vinaigrette marinate. Or grilled with butter.
Why do some of you peel it? I break mine, but could I peal the tough ends and cook the whole thing? All these years I've been feeding the ends to the deer. hmmph
My favorite preparation is to drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Spread out in one layer on a cookie sheet and blast in a 450 oven. Sometimes I have other stuff in the oven at 350 and I'll cook it at that temp, too. But it's better at 450.
Peeling takes off the buds that grow on the sides and any of the outside of the stem that may be slightly tough. The thin spears are usually not tough at all.
What would I do with my very cool, asparagus peeler if I did not peel the asparagus? :) You still need to snap the hard fibrous ends off the spear - so keep feeding the deer.
Roasting w/ balsamic vinegar sounds delicious! I will definitely try that! Thanks!
Wow! Thanks for all the help! I knew I came to the right place to ask! We'll be eating more asparagus from now on.
I LOVE asparagu! My most recent articel has the vegetable as a side. I sauteed some shrimp in a traditional scampi (wine, butter, lemon, garlic, S&PTT) sauce. After the shrimp were done and removed from the pan I threw in the asparagus with some chicken stock without cleaning the pan. Sauteed the asparagus until bright green then I threw and bunch of ice over the top and remove from the stove. The ice stops the cooking quicker. To warm then up again I quickly grill them.
Go out to garden. Break off piece of asparagus. Eat.
mago - I just looked up asparagus peelers on amazon - range from $2.99 to $41.99. What does it do differently from a regular peeler other than provide an opposing force? Anything?
Foodonastump, It (asparagus peeler) holds the asparagus securely as you run the peeler blade up the stalk.
Buy the thinnest asparagus you can find. Snap off the bottoms. Stand in a steamer and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Optional: Serve with home-made Hollandaise sauce. I mix the juice of one lemon with two or three whole eggs over low heat, then whisk in a stick of butter. A little hot sauce is good added in.
I purchased my peeler at WS - I try to avoid their gadget display but it always sucks me in! On the larger stalks I can peel to produce a squarish, flatish 4 sided stalk. I tell DH it helps it to lie flat on the grill - I know that's not true, but I have to make something up to stop the "why are you peeling them?" every single time I peel! LOL In reality, Sara Moulton peeled her asparagus on her live show when I first got FoodTV & I thought it was so cool.
Rinse, snap the ends where they want to snap and either steam, just until bright green but still crisp, or drizzel with EVOO, sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil or grill until charred but still crisp.
There isn't anything worse than limp asparagus.
Tami, have you tried white asparagus? It's delicious also.
"There isn't anything worse than limp asparagus."
I agree, but I find grilled asparagus the most forgiving. Overdone on the grill and is still edible, overdone steamed goes in the trash. For that reason I tend to go the grilled route when making it for company and I have a dozen other things going on to distract me.
dlynn, no, we haven't tried the white asparagus. I don't think I've even seen it around here.
I am not an adventuresome eater. I prefer meat and potatoes! I've never been a fruit and veggie eater. In the 26 years of being married, I have learned to eat lots of things I never would have even tried as a child. I have just started eating zukini and squash. And I mean just! As in the last 2 months! I am a very basic cook, nothing fancy, no fancy methods, no fancy terminology. Most of what you guys/gals here say goes right over my head, but you all are great when I come and ask what may seem like stupid/silly questions, and make me still feel welcome. And I learn so much from all of you. Thank you all so much!
I'm another non-peeler. I eat asparagus until I'm sick of it every spring, Oceana County right next door is a huge producer of asparagus and I can usually get it for 50 cents a pound, right out of the field. This year it was up to 90 cents a pound because of the additional costs to irrigate, fertilize and harvest.
I usually just swish it in cold water to wash it but if it has just rained the sand and grit gets inside those little leaves on the side. Then I do the "upside down in warm water" bath mentioned above.
I never peel and I was astounded when I heard that people peeled asparagus, LOL, no one I know ever peeled asparagus! I just snap off the tough ends and use them for soup. I like it best roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper. My girls like it lightly steamed, then rolled in a slice of turkey spread with herb flavored cream cheese. I will often use asparagus pieces in a form of garden vegetable prima vera with whole wheat noodles and lots of lightly sauteed vegetables from my garden.
I've never met an asparagus I didn't like, except the white stuff. I tried it once and found it tough and fibrous with little flavor. I was expecting it to taste like asparagus, I guess, and it just didn't.
Skinny asparagus comes from young plants. a good establishes asparagus bed produces lovely fat spears. I don't always peel asparagus...never those little skinny stalks. But sometimes I will pop off those little scales on the stalk because they may harbor sand.
White asparagus is just regular asparagus that has had the dirt mounded up over it as it grows so the light doesn't hit and make it turn green. labor intensive! It shouldn't be tough! Should be very tender because the wind never hits it. It has less of the green taste of asparagus. That;'s how I learned to love asparagus as a kid, my mother would buy the white for me which has a milder flavor.
When my kids were little, they used to have Gerber or maybe Heinz strained creamed asparagus. you haven't lived until you have changed asparagus diapers....and had a diaper pail full of the same!!
No wonder babies were trained earlier a few years back! We had to deal with the dreaded diaper pail!!
I like my asparagus crunchier, so I only cooked it for 15 minutes, which was still too long for me. But though kinda soft, it was still delicious.
My other favorite way to cook asparagus is to pan saute it with some minced garlic and olive oil.