How to Cook Asparagus
Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and fortunately it is very easy to cook. My favorite method is roasting asparagus, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but you can also steam asparagus, toss it on the grille or sauté it in a pan.
In case you've never cooked asparagus before, I'll quickly outline what you need to do to prepare it for cooking and then list a few simple methods of how to cook asparagus and you can take your pick. All of these are very simple ways to prepare asparagus and you can always mix things up a bit by adding some garlic or a little marinade to the stalks.
Before you cook your asparagus, you need to first rinse it off to get any extra sand off of it (it grows in sandy soil) and then you need to remove the woody stems which are not very tasty since they are rather fibrous.
Preparing Asparagus for cooking
You can either cut off a couple of inches of the stalk or, preferably, you can simply bend each spear until it breaks at its natural breaking point. Using the breaking method will make sure that you end up with nice tender spears of asparagus without any waste.
You'll find that you lose more of the stalk with thicker asparagus than with the young thin spears
How to Steam Asparagus
Steaming asparagus is quick and easy. If you want to get fancy though, you can buy a special asparagus steamer that will allow for steaming the asparagus upright. A steamer basket will also do the trick nicely though and costs a lot less.
Once you have removed the woody stems and washed your spears, place them in the steamer basket, put some water in the bottom of your saucepan and place the steamer inside it. Put the lid on and let them steam. Depending on how tender you want your spears, they should be ready in about 2-3 minutes. They'll be done when they've turned bright green and are fork tender.
If you don't have steamer basket, you can bundle the asparagus together with some twine and stand them upright in a pot with about an inch of water in it. This will ensure that the tips of the asparagus are steamed and not boiled.
How to Roast Asparagus
My favorite method for cooking asparagus is roasting and eight times out of 10 this is how I will cook it. The other two times I will grille it :)
Here's what I usually do:
Quick Roasted Asparagus
- Preheat oven to 400
- Dump asparagus spears on baking tray
- Drizzle with plenty of olive oil
- Toss asparagus spears to coat in olive oil
- Spread them out on baking tray evenly
- Sprinkle sea salt (or kosher salt) on asparagus
- Grind pepper over aspargus
- Sprinkle bits of chopped garlic over asparagus
- Stick in the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes
I usually let them cook until the asparagus is sizzling in the oil and there's a bit of browning. If you like yours a little crisper, you can take them out after they've turned bright green.
Once they are out of the oven, you can squeeze some lemon on them or shred some parmesan cheese over them or sprinkled some balsamic vinegraite or caesar dressing.
Check out the video below for a nice Roasted Asparagus recipe that's easy to follow.
Easy Roasted Asparagus
Ina Paarman's Fresh Asparagus
Pan Seared Asparagus
Other Ways to Cook Asparagus
For grilling, I basically do everything exactly the same as for roasting, except I lay the asparagus out on some aluminum foil and then place the whole thing on the grille. Be sure to put your grille lid down while cooking.
Grilling should be faster than roasting if your grille is nice and hot. So check the asparagus in about 3-5 minutes.
Alternatively you can spear stalks together with some wooden spears to form a raft and lay them on the grille and just brush some warm butter across them and maybe a little garlic.
There's a ton of other quick and easy methods for cooking asparagus as well. You can also sauté in pan, boil them or do a stir fry.
To get some more ideas, check out the additional videos for Ina Paarman's method of pan frying asparagus that looks delicious and the video for pan seared asparagus that looks very yummy.