asparagus: easy to prep and quick to cook with easy methods

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These crunchy, earthy, green vegetables cook in minutes and pairs perfect with just about any dish. Shave it thin using a peeler and toss it raw into salads, serve it steamed and drizzled in our velvety smooth lemon olive oil with a sprinkling of sea salt, or roast it to intensify its flavours. Asparagus is highly nutritious too — it’s full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while also being low in calories. If you’re looking for a quick, healthy, and delicious side, it’s hard to beat simple preparations when cooking with fresh asparagus.

 

How to Store Asparagus

Asparagus tastes best when it’s fresh. If you’re saving it for a later date, be sure to store it in your refrigerator for up to three days if by following any of these easy tips:

  • Do not rinse the spears until you’re ready to cook them.
  • Wrap the asparagus bundle in paper towels to absorb excess moisture, then put it in a loose biodegradable bag.
  • You can refrigerate the asparagus in an uncovered glass jar while sitting in an inch of water.

 

Types of Asparagus

Perfect for Sautéing

Thin-Speared Asparagus — it’s one of the thinnest varieties and ideal for sautéing, the spears will brown first but will not burn before they are cooked through.

Wild Asparagus — it is longer and thinner than its counterparts and is a great variety for sautéing.

 

Ideal for Most Preparations

Green Asparagus —  most common type of asparagus found in most supermarkets, when cooked it becomes even brighter and greener.

Purple Asparagus — super tender, much more so than its white and green counterparts. It’s also much sweeter in taste.

White Asparagus — it has the same taste and texture as green asparagus and is grown in the dark, which prevents it from turning green. It is actually considered a delicacy in Europe and is generally served as a delicious treat.

 

Holds Up Well to Grilling and Roasting

Thick-Speared Asparagus — super tender, much more so than its white and green counterparts. It’s also much sweeter in taste.

 

How to Prep Asparagus

Preparing asparagus is easy and in no way time consuming.

  • Wash — Rinse quickly in cold water to remove any dirt.
  • Break or Trim — Hold an asparagus spear with one hand toward the bottom and the hand in the middle, then bend it until it naturally breaks off or simply cut the ends off at once with a knife.
  • Peel — Thin-speared asparagus is too fiddly to be peeled, but for anything thicker, it’s a good idea. Use a vegetable peeler, starting two-thirds of the way up the stalk and peel it towards the bottom. The skin is thin, and perfect for salads.

 

How to Cook Asparagus

Asparagus can be prepared in many ways, on the stove, in the oven, or even on the barbeque grill if you fancy cooking outside. Our favourite is the char when broiled as it adds a hint of smokiness. Steaming keeps them bright green, sweet and succulent. The methods below all depend on the taste experience you’re after, and the type of asparagus you have.

 

Boiled Asparagus

  1. Add salt to a large pot of boiling water.
  2. Add the asparagus.
  3. Cook until bright green and tender (1 to 3 minutes).
  4. Shock in ice water to stop them from cooking any further if you are not eating right away.

 

Steamed Asparagus

  1. Place the asparagus in the steamer basket and cover.
  2. Cook on high heat until bright green and fork-tender (for 2-6 minutes depending on the thickness).
  3. Shock in ice water to stop them from cooking any further if you are not eating right away.

 

Roasted Asparagus

  1. Coat the asparagus with a generous drizzle of olive oil, sea salt flakes and ground black pepper.
  2. Cook on a lined baking tray at 200ºC.
  3. Broil for about 10 minutes (depending on thickness), shaking the pan halfway through.
  4. The tips should be browned and spears tender.

 

Sauteed Asparagus

  1. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Sauté them over high heat in a griddle pan with olive oil.
  3. Sauté until lightly seared and tender, 3 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness).
  4. Season with sea salt flakes and ground black pepper.

 

Broiled Asparagus

  1. Set the oven to the broil setting.
  2. Coat the asparagus with olive oil, sea salt flakes and ground black pepper and transfer to a lined baking tray.
  3. Cook the asparagus about 5-inches away from the upper heating element of the oven.
  4. Broil until the asparagus are lightly browned and tender, 5 to 10 minutes (depending on thickness).

 

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

  1. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat with olive oil.
  2. Add the asparagus and coat in the olive oil.
  3. Cover and cook until the asparagus are crisp and tender, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and turn heat to high.
  5. Season with sea salt flakes and ground black pepper.
  6. Sear the asparagus, while tossing them until browned, 2 to 5 minutes (depending on thickness).

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