Asparagus in spring.
I’ve posted this info before, but it bares repeating as the first tender shoots start peaking through the sand.
Food lovers the world over wait impatiently for the first sign of asparagus in the spring.
What color are you anxiously searching for?
Green? White? Violet?
It depends on where you live.
In the U.S. people look for slender, green asparagus.
In Europe people look for fat, white asparagus.
Violet is a nice compromise.
It’s white, but more slender than the traditional and with purplish tips.
Here is what I know about asparagus:
To store asparagus: Slice off the dried ends… You should have a fresh, moist cut. Stand in a coffee cup or small bowl with an inch (3cm) or so of water in the bottom. It will keep a few days in the fridge… But it’s best eaten as soon after picking as possible.
To prepare green or thin violet asparagus: Snap off the ends by holding the very end of the stalk and bending carefully until it snaps. It will break naturally where the tender stalk begins.
To prepare white asparagus: Cut off the woody stem ends – do not snap or you will lose half the asparagus. Peel the asparagus with a vegetable peeler, starting from just below the tip. White asparagus tends to be brittle, so, to avoid snapping it, lay it flat on the counter to peel.
To braise in a skillet: Put spears into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add water to cover bottom by 1/4 inch, cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook just until done, 8 – 12 minutes, longer for white, adding a bit of water as needed.
To bake/roast: Put a drizzle of oil on a baking sheet – one with a lip all around. I use a pizza pan. Roll the asparagus in oil (use your fingers!). Put in the oven at 400F (200C), tips facing the oven door. Bake for 15 – 25 minutes, depending on size. White will take the longest.
To cook on barbecue grill: Rub with olive oil. Either cook directly on barbecue grill (being careful not to let any slip through, or on a mesh pan. Turn frequently. Should be done in 7 – 15 minutes depending on size and heat. They will start to brown slightly but that’s okay – adds flavor and crunch.
To sauté: Put 1 tbs butter in a large nonstick skillet. Add asparagus and sauté over medium heat until they brown slightly and are done, 6 – 10 minutes, depending on size. You can also sauté them over low heat for much longer. I did thin, green asparagus in butter and olive oil over low heat for 25 minutes last night and they were perfect – not limp, still a bit of crunch and nicely browned.
To steam: Lay in steamer basket over simmering water, cover and steam for 6 – 10 minutes. depending on size.
Green asparagus I prefer to sauté in olive oil, sometimes just finishing with a bit of pepper and sea salt….
Asparagus is best when not over-cooked. Whatever your choice of method, watch it and test frequently if you’re unsure.
Here are a few of our favorite asparagus recipes to get the season started:
And one simple treatment of violet (or green) asparagus finished with a light Lemon Parsley vinaigrette.
Cooking time: 15 minutes
10oz (300gr) asparagus, green or white
1 tbs good olive oil
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs fresh, snipped parsley
Snap off ends of asparagus. If white use vegetable peeler and peel the bottom half of stalk, laying it flat on the counter so as not to break it. Put into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add water to cover bottom by 1/4 inch, cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook just until done, 6 – 8 minutes, a bit longer for white.
Vinaigrette: Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and parsley.
To finish: When asparagus is done, drain and put onto a serving plate, drizzle with Vinaigrette, add pepper and serve.
We do love asparagus season….
Leave a comment with your favorites – I’ll do a ’round-up’.