All About Asparagus
Asparagus tends to have a bad rap with some people. It can be mushy, smelly, and unpalatable if it’s cooked wrong. Lucky for you, I’ve got the basics for cooking it and turning it from something wilted and inedible to the star of your side dishes!
Things to know:
- Asparagus comes in different colors. White asparagus is just regular asparagus grown in the dark!
- Asparagus is typically harvested from March through June. Early in the season they are thin like pencils, later in the season they are fatter and meatier.
- Store them loosely wrapped in a plastic bag and place in the crisper. Eat as soon as you can for better flavor.
- Thin spears are better for roasting, grilling, or eating raw.
- Thicker spears are much better steamed because of the meaty texture.
How to pick it:
- Look for: smooth skin, bright color, and freshly cut ends.
- Give it a gentle bend! It should not feel wilted and should provide some resistance.
How to prep it:
- Start with trimming the ends. The fastest way to do this is to hold the ends and bend until the spear breaks.
- Then wash your asparagus in cold water.
Recipe 01: Traditional Roasted Asparagus
- 2 lbs. trimmed asparagus
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- fresh ground pepper
Start by heating your oven to 400F. Then prepare a baking sheet by laying down a piece of parchment paper. Put the asparagus on the sheet and generously season with olive oil, salt, and pepper before tossing until covered. Next, put that tray in the oven and roast for about 25 minutes until tender and a little charred. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe 02: Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- 1 lb. trimmed asparagus
- 3 1/2 ounces sliced prosciutto
- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- lemon zest
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Begin by heating your oven to 400F and lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. Next it’s time to prepare the asparagus by rinsing and patting them dry. Then snap of the ends and toss.
Now it’s time to wrap! Begin by cutting the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Next, wrap the spears by starting at the bottoms and wrapping tightly to the top. Put the finished asparagus on the baking sheet. Once all of them have been wrapped, drizzle with olive oil and top with pepper. Then bake for 8-10 minutes. The asparagus should be bright green and slightly tender and the prosciutto should be crispy. Zest with a little lemon and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe 03: Bacon Asparagus Tart
- 1 sheet defrosted frozen puff pastry
- 2 eggs, divided
- 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
- flour for sprinkling
- 4 slices chopped bacon
- 1 lb. washed and trimmed asparagus
- 1/2 c. ricotta
- 1/2 c. grated Parmesan
- 1 c. grated Gruyere cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped chives
- pepper and salt
- olive oil for drizzling
Begin by heating the oven to 400F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then make your egg wash by whisking one egg and the heavy cream together. Next, lightly flour a surface and roll out the pastry. Take a pairing knife and score a 3/4″ border cutting halfway through the pastry. Then take a fork and prick the center of the pastry so that the middle doesn’t rise out of control. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and brush the edges with your egg wash and bake for ten minutes. Remove the pastry from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.
While the pastry is cooling, put a skillet on the stove over medium heat and cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy. Then remove the bacon and a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat. Next, put your asparagus in the pan and add the bacon grease so that you can cook until the asparagus until it’s crisp but tender-about three minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, gruyere, chives, egg, egg wash, and pepper. Mix until nice and smooth before spreading over the middle of the puff pastry. Then arrange the asparagus in the middle and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Last, cook the whole thing for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and brown. Sprinkle with a little more salt and serve!
Recipe 04: Creamy Asparagus Soup
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 lb. trimmed asparagus cut into 1″ pieces
- salt and pepper
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- chopped chives and dill for garnish
Start by melting your butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. When it starts to melt add in your garlic and cook until it starts getting fragrant. Next up, add in your asparagus and cook for about five minutes until golden. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Last, add broth and simmer covered until the asparagus is very tender. No more than 15 minutes.
When the asparagus is tender but still green, take your immersion blender (don’t have one? Get it here!) and puree the soup. Next add in the cream and warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chives and dill. Serve and enjoy!
Hopefully you can give asparagus another try and love this wonderful spring vegetable!