Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Asparagus Tips

Get it? Because asparagus spears have tips and I am going to give you tips about asparagus. See what I did there?

Now, let me ask you this: Is there anything better than asparagus? Pungent urine notwithstanding, there is something so wonderful and fresh about this lovely veg. And it tastes so good with everything- you can throw it in a salad, an omelet or pasta, and it's obviously a great side, too. Technically it's in season in the spring, but it's widely available all year, which is good since we eat it at least once a week.

However, to really enjoy this awesomeness, you've got to know a little bit about how to choose and prepare it. Here are some tips for how to enjoy your asparagus to the fullest.

1. Look for straight, bright, crisp green stalks without any wilting, brown spots or wrinkling. Look for tips that are tightly formed, and dark green or purplish, with no soft or liquidy spots. If you still can't tell, take a whiff- it definitely shouldn't smell gross (or really much at all). Try to buy bunches with stalks that are roughly the same thickness- that way they will cook uniformly.

2. When you get the asparagus home, slightly trim the ends, and place upright in a stable container with an inch of water at the bottom (like  bouquet of flowers), and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use. I swear it will stay fresher longer this way!

3. To avoid cooking the woody stems, use this tip: Instead of cutting off the ends, hold the stalk of asparagus at both ends, and exert gentle pressure to snap the stock.  It will naturally break exactly where the tough internal fibers give way, leaving you with just the most delicious tender part.

4. Asparagus is delicious steamed or grilled, but my favorite thing to do is boil it (you'll know it's done when the stalks turn a uniformly grass-green color and you can insert a fork into the stalk without difficulty). Top with a little butter, parsley, and fresh grated lemon rind.  You won't want to eat anything else ever again.

8 comments:

Raye S. said...

It is also really good roasted.

Wash, coat with a tinny bit of good olive oil, a dash of salt and into a hot oven for 15 minutes or so. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Edit: Earlier comment removed due to spelling error.

Amy B said...

Even better than boiling: Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Put in baking pan in oven and roast at 400 till bright green, tossing them once or twice. SOOOO GOOD!

squidravioli said...

Excellent tips! My wife and I haven't tried any other cooking method to asparagus aside from steaming, I plan on giving the storage idea a try along with the boiling!

squidravioli said...

AmyB:

Great tip as well,

P.S. your blog is hilarious. Why did you stop?

Chef Green said...

YAY a new post from my fav housewife! I kind of idolize you a little bit, is that weird? No? Is it weird that I'm a guy that idolizes you? OK thought so.

My favorite asparagus recipe: Blanch the asparagus, chill. Wrap in Filo dough with asiago cheese. Yummm.

Bridget ATL said...

Yay! You're back.

Lily said...

Hello, Friends!
Thanks for noticing I was gone, and then being glad I'm back. I missed you, too. I'll try not to leave you like that again. I think I need to work on my time-management skills.
@Chef Green- Thanks for (kind of) idolizing me (a little bit)! I wish I was a real chef, so I idolize you, too. I'm going to try everyone's asparagus suggestions. My husband would never say so, but he might be getting tired of the boiled-with-butter method!

catherine carman said...

Just last night I showed my husband the trick about breaking the stems naturally and he thought I was a genius!
We cooked ours on the grill seasoned with ginger and sesame seeds! So yummy!