Spring has sprung, and so has the fresh asparagus! If you live in an area where it grows wild, hunting and gathering makes you appreciate every tasty, fresh-picked bite. Most of us enjoy the luxury of finding asparagus in local farmers’ markets or grocery stores, so we can indulge more frequently. And that’s a good thing - there are so many delicious ways to prepare it, you’ll be grateful for a longer “season”.
Choosing the best asparagus
Look for asparagus with straight, firm, bright green spears. The tips should still be tightly closed - tips that are open and soft are signs that the asparagus is past its prime. Thin stalks or thick is a personal preference. Pencil-thin asparagus is crisp and tender with mild flavor, while thick asparagus has a stronger flavor and a meatier texture. Whether thick or thin, spears of uniform size will cook more evenly. Allow about four servings per pound.
Asparagus grows in sandy soil, so rinse the spears thoroughly with cold water. Snap off the woody base of each spear by bending the spear a few times to find a place where it breaks easily. That will preserve the most tender parts. For thick asparagus spears, peel off the woody outside part at the bottom of each stalk with a vegetable peeler.
For the best flavor, cook your asparagus soon after purchasing. If you need to store it for a couple of days, wrap the cut ends in a damp paper towel or stand the stalks up in about an inch of water to keep it crispy in the frig.
How to cook it? Let us count the ways! Asparagus is friendly to healthy eating plans, is full of flavor, cooks quickly and is easy to prepare. Steam it, roast it or grill it. And for the picky eaters? Got ‘em covered! We have cheesy, bacony and crispy-fried versions that deliver great food to the hard-to-please.
Healthy Asparagus Recipes
Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable packed full of vitamins (especially vitamins K, B1, B2, and folate) as well as iron and fiber. Keep it light and nutrient dense with these healthy recipes!
Whole grain bread toasted with olive oil provides the foundation for this stack of layered flavors and textures. Blanching the asparagus preserves nutrients and that lovely bright green color. Topping with eggs and Parmesan makes it the Breakfast of Champions!
Decadent Asparagus Recipes
These next few recipes may be a little less healthy, but it's so worth it for the flavor payoff (and really, how unhealthy could asparagus be anyway). Featuring ingredients like aioli, prosciutto, and gruyere, these recipes are to die for.
Sour cream and Dijon mustard. Do we have your attention yet? Steam the asparagus ahead of time so that it's thoroughly chilled to pair with the creamy dressing that surprises with a bit of sweet and a bit of sour.
A perfect appetizer for a summer get-together, prosciutto, goat cheese and asparagus team up for a winning combination. Serve these to welcome party guests or as the main event for a light summer lunch.
This hearty casserole can be the elegant centerpiece for a hearty brunch or a comforting evening meal to enjoy warm from the oven. A splash of dry white wine and a sprinkling of fresh herbs add a European flair.
Fast Asparagus Recipes
There's no reason asparagus dishes need to take tons of time! Check out these lightning fast recipes.
Cooked in one skillet, this meal will be ready to serve in no time! The frittata is packed with protein from the eggs and delivers a nuritional punch with lots of veggies! A colorful dish for any time of day.
Easy Asparagus Recipes
Does asparagus seem intimidating to you? Well, check those misgivings at the door, because asparagus is just as delicious when made super simply, and it doesn't take a professional chef to completely nail these recipes.
Easy doesn't have to be ordinary. The vinaigrette is elegant in its simplicity. Mix it up while the asparagus is steaming, then just drizzle. Not ready to serve right away? That's okay - this dish delights at room temperature or made ahead and chilled.
Boil the asparagus just until tender. All the other ingredients? Simply whisk them together and pour over the prepared simple vegetable for a dish with complex flavors that looks like you worked much harder than you did.
For those times when you want the fancy look without all the work, this combo of fresh veggies, anchored by asparagus, will take care of you and your guests. Tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with seasonings, it needs little attention once on the grill.
Asparagus For Picky Eaters
It's hard to believe, we know, but some people are a bit wary of asparagus, especially kids. But anything is delicious when you bread it, smother it with cheese, or cook it with bacon (or all three)! Check out some of these too-good-to-pass-up recipes.
Everything is better with bacon! Asparagus is no exception. With the asparagus cut into bite-size pieces, there will be crispy bacon in every single forkful. Eating your vegetables has never been better!