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How To Cook Asparagus

POSTED May 10, 2018

Asparagus works hard. That sounds silly, but it’s one of those versatile vegetables that can be used in anything from stir fry, to pasta, to soup–or as a simple side dish on its own. Think you don’t like asparagus? It’s possible that you just haven’t had it cooked the right way. Once you learn how to cook asparagus, it’s hard not to love it.

 
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Tips for Cooking Asparagus

No matter how you want to cook your asparagus, first things first: You have to cut the ends off. The ends of asparagus are tough and bitter, but they can be removed easily with a knife or by bending the stalk until the bottom snaps off. If you’re worried about discarding too much of the asparagus, you can peel the ends with a peeler to remove some of the tough ends.

Roasting

Perhaps the most popular and easiest way to make asparagus is in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees and place your asparagus on a lined parchment baking sheet (don’t forget to remove or shave the ends!). From there, add your favorite seasoning and spices. If you need some inspiration, try olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, or a spice blend. Roast the asparagus for 15 to 20 minutes until it is charred and grilled through.

Blanching

Looking to make asparagus even healthier? Try blanching it. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your asparagus spears. Cook them for just 2 to 3 minutes until you see the asparagus turn bright green. Remember, with blanching, less is more. Make sure you don’t overcook the asparagus or the tops of the spears will turn soggy and fall apart.

In order to keep the beautiful green color of asparagus, make sure you have an ice bath ready when the steaming process is done. An ice bath is a bowl of water and ice that will stop the cooking process, keeping your asparagus bright green.

Stir-frying or Sautéing

Similar to the roasted asparagus in the oven, you can use the same methods and spices in a skillet on the stovetop. All you need to do is discard the ends of the asparagus and either keep them in spears or chop them into pieces, depending on what you’re making.

From there, sauté the asparagus with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper (adding a little bit of soy sauce can elevate the flavor, too!). Mix in other vegetables or serve the asparagus on its own alongside rice and a protein.

Blended Asparagus for Soup

Another great way to utilize asparagus is by cooking it in the oven or sautéing it in a pan, and then blending it with other vegetables to make either a soup or gazpacho. This allows the bright green color and flavor of the asparagus to really come through.

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