Six Ways To Cook Asparagus

 Cook Asparagus

Cook Asparagus
Cook Asparagus
Here are six different ways to cook asparagus. The recipes and methods were chosen with the idea of adding just a little "zing" to this popular dish. If you've been used to eating boiled (call it spoiled) asparagus, that turns out to be a little on the limp and stringy side, you're in for a pleasant surprise. The recipes call for a couple of bunches of asparagus, or about a pound. Enough to serve 4. After trying a few of these ideas, you may want to double the size of each serving in the future!

Baked Asparagus

To prepare the asparagus for baking, after you've washed it and trimmed the ends, place the stalks in a plastic bag and pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, shaking the bag until all of the stalks are coated with the oil. Place the individual stalks on a cookie sheet and season with salt and cracked black pepper. Coarse grained salt is preferable, though for a delicious variation try garlic salt. Place the cookie sheet and asparagus in a preheated 400 degree oven, and cook for 12 minutes until tender, or up to 8 minutes longer if you like your asparagus a little on the crunchy side.

Roasted Asparagus

To cook asparagus this way is quite similar to the above recipe for baked asparagus, with a couple of important differences. The asparagus is again coated with olive oil, but this time shallots are added to the mix, and it will be easier to coat both asparagus and shallots in a bowl rather than in a plastic bag. Take a pound of washed and trimmed asparagus stalks, combine with 4 medium thinly-sliced shallots, and cover the asparagus and shallots with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Lay the stalks and shallots out on a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven. Shake the pan and turn the stalks about half way through so they'll cook evenly.

Grilled Asparagus

Again, you'll want to coat your pound of asparagus stalks with olive oil, and then salt and pepper to taste. This time however, instead of going in the oven, place them on the grill. Grill over high heat for 3 minutes, no more. Garlic salt adds a nice touch, and wooden skewers come in handy to keep the stalks from falling through the grill, as some of them will surely do if you try to lay them individually on the grill. Two skewers work better than one. Use them like you are building a picket fence. When it's time to turn the stalks over you can flip the whole bunch at once. If you soak the skewers in water ahead of time, they won't be apt to burn. A nice variation is to add a little balsamic vinegar in with the olive oil used to coat the stalks.

Parboiled Asparagus

Parboiling asparagus is different than boiling the texture and nutrition out of the stalks. Take your pound of asparagus, slice the stalks diagonally into 2 inch sections, and place them in a saucepan of water that has been brought to boiling. Turn down the heat immediately and let the asparagus simmer for about 2 minutes. Drain the water away, and put the asparagus in a bowl along with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese, plus salt and pepper. Toss the mix together and serve while still warm.

Pan Fired Asparagus

To pan fry anything well, you want to start by melting butter, 1/4 cup in this case, in the pan or skillet. This should be done over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic (minced) , a teaspoon of salt, preferably coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Cook the garlic and butter mixture for about a minute. Then add the asparagus. Cook for 10 minutes, turning the stalks occasionally.

Steamed Asparagus

The easiest way to cook asparagus is by steaming it, easier still if you use the microwave. Place a pound of asparagus in a microwave-safe dish, adding to it 1/4 cup of white wine and 2 tablespoons of butter. Cook at high heat for 3 minutes, and that's it. If you should find the wine taste is starting to overpower the taste of the asparagus, dilute the wine with water, say half and half the next time around, but most seem to prefer having the asparagus steamed with wine only.

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