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How to Cook Asparagus (6 Easy Methods) | Family Cuisine

Boiled asparagus has a natural sweetness that is enhanced by the addition of salt and pepper. It's important to season boiled asparagus with these two ingredients to maximize flavor.

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How to season boiled asparagus

Learn how to cook asparagus 6 different ways! Boiling, steaming, roasting, sauteing, broiling, and pan-roasting are various ways to make the tender green spears pop with flavor. The fibrous vegetable cooks up in minutes, for a healthy side dish.

How to Cook Asparagus

Reading: how to season boiled asparagus

Fresh asparagus spears have an irresistible sweet and snappy texture when enjoyed raw. Cooking the fibrous greens unlocks new flavors. The naturally delicious flavor doesn’t need more than a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. However, the robust texture holds up well to richer sauces like hollandaise, a squeeze of lemon, or more umani and rich sauces in stir-fries.

How to Cook Asparagus

Asparagus can be prepared on the stove, in the oven, or even on the grill if you want to cook outside. The char when broiled adds a hint of smokiness, while steaming keeps them bright green and succulent. The technique selected is all dependent on what taste experience you’re going for, and what is most convenient.

Boiled Asparagus

Boiled Asparagus

  • Add salted water to a large pot.
  • Add asparagus to the boiling water.
  • Cook until bright green and tender, 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process if not eating right away.

Steamed Asparagus

Steamed Asparagus

  • Place the asparagus in the steamer basket and cover.
  • Cook on high heat, once steam forms cook until bright green and fork-tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process if not eating right away.

Roasted Asparagus

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Roasted Asparagus

  • Coat the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook on a sheet pan at 400°F (204ºC).
  • Broil for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.
  • The tips should be browned and spear tender.

Sauteed Asparagus

Sauteed Asparagus

  • Cut asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
  • Saute the spears over high heat in a saute pan with oil or butter.
  • Saute until lightly browned and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • The same method can be used in a wok to stir-fry the asparagus.

Broiled Asparagus

Broiled Asparagus

  • Set oven to the broil setting.
  • Coat asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper, transfer to a sheet tray.
  • Cook asparagus 6-inches away from the upper heating element in the oven.
  • Broil until the asparagus are lightly browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

  • Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with olive oil and butter.
  • Add the asparagus and coat in the cooking fat.
  • Cover and cook until the asparagus are bright green and crisp, 3 minutes.
  • Remove cover and turn heat to high.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Sear the asparagus, moving with tongs until browned, 3 to 5 minutes.

How do you select asparagus?

Spring is the best time to purchase asparagus, between February to June, however they are available year-round from international sources. They come in different colors other than green, be on the lookout for purple and white varieties too. Depending on when the asparagus is harvested will determine the size, the wider spears have had more time to grow.

Just make sure to adjust cook time for very thin or thick spears. The long stems should be bright green in color and firm, the tips should be closed, and the skin should have a smooth and rubbery sound when the bunch is squeezed together.

How do you store asparagus?

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Store the asparagus in the crisper section of the refrigerator. If not eating within 2 days, trim a ½ inch off the bottoms and wrap in a damp paper towel placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They can also be placed in a tall jar or cup with about 1-inch of water in the refrigerator and then loosely cover the top with a plastic bag. If the tips begin to get mushy, it’s time to toss them out.

How do you prepare asparagus?

The very bottom of the plant needs to be trimmed because the bottom stem is too tough. The best way to know where to cut the inedible part is holding the center and bottom with your fingertips and snapping in half. That natural breaking point can be used as a guide to trim the rest of the spears.

A vegetable peeler can also be used to shave off the thick outer skin to reduce waste. Make sure to wash the asparagus before cooking, and try them with a towel if you are using dry-heat cooking methods like roasting or sauteing so it doesn’t steam instead of brown.

Asparagus nutrition

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup (134g) of asparagus contains the following nutrients:

  • 27 calories
  • 2.95 grams of protein
  • 0.12 grams of fat
  • 3.88 grams of protein
  • 2.1 grams of fiber
  • 1.88 grams of sugar

Health benefits of asparagus

It might be surprising to find that this nutrient-dense vegetable, Asparagus officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant. Not only can the bumpy tips be eaten, but the entire green parts of the stem is very tender. It has impressive levels of micronutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, Vit A, vitamin K, and Vit E.

Asparagus also contains flavonoids and polyphenols for strong antioxidant properties. The presence of soluble and insoluble fibers helps with healthy digestion properties, especially with feeding your guts good bacteria. If you’ve ever wondered why a certain distinctive smell appears after eating, it’s just the asparagusic acid. It breaks down to sulfur-containing compounds when digested which are highly volatile.

What are ways to add asparagus to dishes?

  • Diced into thin rings in a frittata, quiche, or a breakfast casserole.
  • Drizzle homemade hollandaise sauce on top of steamed asparagus.
  • Wrap it in bacon and then roast!
  • Toss it with pasta and pesto sauce.
  • Briefly boil and chill it, and then add to a vegetable crudite.
  • Stir fry it with your choice of protein and Chinese sauce.
  • Dip it in a breading a deep-fry or bake it for asparagus fries.
  • Add it to chicken breasts for a one-pot meal.

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