Thursday, March 3, 2011

Asparagus is Easy

People are often scared to cook asparagus. Perhaps it's because over cooked asparagus is lousy.
Have no fear. It is one of the easiest vegetables to cook. I often make up more than I'll use at that meal and add it to salads later.

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kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
olive oil

A grill pan, frying pan or grill

Prepare your asparagus using either the snapping or anti-snapping method discussed below.
in a bowl, place asparagus and a drizzle of olive oil. Less is more and you can always add more oil as needed. Rub the olive oil all over the spears. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place spears in a single layer on your grill pan (that's what I used in the photo above), frying pan or onto your grill. Asparagus cooks in 2-3 minutes per side depending on how thick your spears are.


*When selecting asparagus, thinner is better. Check the bottoms of your asparagus for dry ends. You want less dry end than more. It's best if your market has the bundles standing up in a little water. You should put them standing up in a little water in your own fridge at home. This will extend their life in your fridge.

* There are two schools of thought about how best to prepare the asparagus to be cooked. The anti-snapping side suggest you cut the woody end off your asparagus and then peel the tough outer skin off the lower portion of each spear. (See an example of this discussion at Food52 along with an wonderful recipe for Thai-Inspired Asparagus Salad with Fried Meyer Lemon.) I think this is the suggested method if you have quite fresh thick stemmed spears.

The snapping camp is also represented in my home. Taking the spear between your thumb and forefinger, snap the spear. It snaps where the woody part stops and the yummy part starts! This is especially helpful on skinny spears or on spears that my have been in your fridge longer than you'd like to admit. For a more in depth tutorial see the kitchen's post here.

*Grilling asparagus can be a little precarious. For thin spears, I use a grill pan (flat pan with smaller holes so I don't lose the asparagus into the grill.) For thicker spears, I thread them onto two skewers, one near the top of the spear, one near the bottom, until they look like an asparagus placemat. Then I can flip the entire set at once in the grill. I also have used the fish grilling basket that closes around the spears, holding them in place.

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1 comment:

  1. Easy, delicious and healthy. Thanks for sharing!