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How to Cook Asparagus

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Asparagus recipes are perfect for spring, or any season now that it is available year round. I am often asked how to cook asparagus or the best way to cook asparagus.

It’s very simple really.

Here are some tips on buying and cleaning asparagus followed by a few easy and delicious asparagus recipes.

Buying Asparagus

  • Look for firm heads that have not started to spread out. Stems, whether you prefer thick or thin, should be firm but not dried up.
  • Asparagus is usually sold standing in a bit of water to keep it from drying out. Check carefully for freshness if asparagus is not kept in water when you buy it.

How to Clean Asparagus

  • The bottom stem of the asparagus spear is tough and not too enjoyable. The best way to tell what part of the asparagus will be tender is to hold the spear with both hands, the head of the spear in one hand and the stem end in the other. The best point to hold the top of the spear is just below the head. If you hold it at the tip the bend will be high and you will be cutting off a lot of the good, tender asparagus. But if you hold it just below the head, it’s usually perfect.
  • Begin to bend the spear and you will notice that it wants to break naturally at a certain point. That is the point where the stem begins to be tough. So just bend each spear and let it break where it wants. Discard the bottom stem or use the upper part of it to make a great asparagus soup.
  • The best point to hold the top of the spear is just below the head. If you hold it at the tip the bend will be high and you will be cutting off a lot of the good, tender asparagus. But if you hold it just below the head, it’s usually perfect.

How To Cook Asparagus

  • If you don’t have an asparagus cooker, use a frying pan to cook your asparagus. Just lay the spears in the frying pan, add enough water to just cover them and bring the water to a boil.
  • The cooking time for asparagus depends on the thickness of the stems. Boil them for 3-6 minutes and test for doneness with a fork. They should be tender but not mushy.
  • Drain the asparagus and return it to the pan. You can add some butter to the pan and let it melt to coat the vegetables. Lemon drizzled over the asparagus is also wonderful.

Grilling Asparagus

  • Asparagus is wonderful cooked on the grill is one of my favorite asparagus recipes – whether it is an indoor grill or an outdoor barbecue. This, in my view, is the best way to cook asparagus, as the slight charred flavor is a wonderful addition.
  • Clean the asparagus and lay it on the grill. I brush the spears with a bit of oil. Olive oil works well but my absolute favorite is to brush the spears with a bit of toasted sesame oil, an oil you can find in the Asian section of your grocery store. It adds a wonderful flavor.
  • Grill the spears for about 5 minutes, or until tender when tested with a fork. Serve as is, or with a sprinkling of salt.

Note:

  • If you are using an outdoor grill, put a vegetable grill pan or another version of those metal containers with holes in it on the grill first and cook the asparagus in that. That way you won’t lose your precious asparagus spears to the fire below.

Go from how to cook asparagus to look at the rest of our vegetable recipes.

For more ideas on how to cook asparagus in a variety of recipes, just put the word asparagus into our search engine. It will show you all of the asparagus recipes on the site.

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