Cooking Fresh Asparagus: How to Fry, Roast, Steam, Microwave, Grill
Asparagus can be hard to cook because it is so easy to overdo it leaving a soft mushy residue. Retaining texture is the key to success.
The other complication is that there are various types of asparagus and different maturity stages.
There can be thick, stiff and fibrous green stalks, delicate white ones, thin green ones and all the other characteristics in between.
Success in cooking starts with choosing spears which have particular and a limited range on features.
► Choose relatively large and thick spears which will tend to be more tender when cooked that the smaller ones.
► Choose spears that are straight, deep green in color with purple traces. Also, choose fresh spear that are firm rather than soft.
See how to cook asparagus in various ways and some delightful recipes for fresh asparagus.
Cooking Asparagus by Boiling
Place a pan large enough to hold the asparagus spears on the stove and bring the water to a vigorous boil. Meanwhile prepare the spears by washing the spears well under tap water. Snap off the tough woody ends. Add the spears and boil for 2 minutes and test how they are going. Keep coking until they are just tender crisp, but still firm. Check them with a fork for doneness. If the asparagus is to be served warm remove them a little earlier remembering that the spear will keep coking when hot. If the spears are to be served warm or cold in salads, plunge the cooked asparagus in very cold or iced water. This immediately stops the cooking process and helps preserve the crispness and color of the asparagus.
Cooking Asparagus by Grilling and Barbecuing
Grilled asparagus spears should shows browned areas on the outside, but just tender on the inside. Preheat to griller or barbecue to moderate to high temperature. Spray or brush the spears with olive oil. Add the spears and grill for about 5-8 minutes until tender, turning occasionally and spraying with a little extra olive oil. Test the spears often and remove when just starting to get tender inside. Sprinkle with salt when half cooked.
Recipe for Grilled Asparagus with Olive oil, Parmesan and Lemon
- sea salt
- olive oil
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 block Parmesan, for grating
- 800 g ( 1 lb) of green asparagus
Heat a large griddle pan or barbecue and dry-grill the asparagus spears on both sides until marked with brown stripes. When cooked place them on serving plates and squeeze over lemon juice and drizzles of olive oil. Season with freshly ground black, sea salt to taste and freshly shaved Parmesan strips.
Cooking Asparagus by Microwaving
Lay the asparagus spears in a large flat, microwave-safe baking dish, with tips towards the center. Add about a 1/4 cup of water; cover the dish and microwave on a high setting for 3-5 minutes until just tender (test as several times).
Cooking Asparagus by Roasting
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place the washed, trimmed and dried asparagus in a shallow baking dish or on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss that spears lightly to coat all surfaces and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 13-20 minutes or until crisp on the outside, but tender inside. Toss twice during the roasting to brown on all sides. Season with herbs, spices and lemon if desired.
Recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Garlic and Balsalmic Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb (800 g) asparagus
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 430 degrees F (220 degrees C). Wash asparagus and snap off the bottom woody stalk portions. Combine the salt, oil, vinegar, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Brush the liquid over the asparagus and to coat all sides. Place on a shallow baking pan or sheet. Roast the asparagus for 7-10 minutes, turning once.
Cooking Asparagus by Steaming
Place a steamer basket in a saucepan or prepare your steamer. Add hot water to just below the bottom of the basket. Bring the water to a boil. Add asparagus to basket. Cover and lower the heat so a vigorous simmer. Steam for 3-8 minutes or until just tender (time depends on size). Sprinkle with a homemade vinaigrette to serve. Make the vinaigrette by whisking 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a heated teaspoon of French mustard, and a tablespoon of wine vinegar.
Cooking Asparagus by Stir Frying
Cut spears diagonally into 1 1/2 inch to 2-inch size pieces ( 4-5 cm). Heat a wok to very high temperature, add some oil and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.
© 2014 Dr. John Anderson
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