Asparagus is a very tasty and versatile vegetable, it is not only healthy, but very appetizing as well. Asparagus is good both as a side dish and as an independent dish. To prepare a culinary masterpiece, you need a minimum of time and ingredients. You just need to know some of the tricks for cooking asparagus. We will share the secrets of its preparation and some easy and delicious asparagus recipes.
Are asparagus healthy and what are the most popular varieties?
Asparagus is a vegetable that contains very few calories (only 20 kilocalories per 100 grams ) and is rich in minerals, vitamins and other useful substances. It contains vitamins K, E, A, C, group B, folic acid, selenium, copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron. Regular consumption of asparagus helps to cleanse the body of toxins and improves the functioning of the heart and blood vessels. That is just one of the reasons why they strongly recommended in a healthy and balanced diet and you can choose from the asparagus recipes below.
Asparagus are mostly available in the spring months, from March to June, and it is precisely in this period that their use is recommended.
There are numerous varieties of asparagus, but the best known and most popular are:
Green Asparagus grows in the sunlight, has a distinguished flavor and its bud is sweetish.
White Asparagus has a very delicate flavor. It is grown in the dark, which is why it doesn’t turn green.
Purple asparagus also has a fairly delicate flavor, slightly sweeter compared to the white one. The high levels of anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant, give it its purple color.
Wild Asparagus as the name suggests, grows in the wild and it is not very difficult to find if you know where to look. It has a thinner and longer stem than the cultivated varieties. Wild asparagus can be found on coastal dunes as well as open grassy areas near seas.
How to choose asparagus?
Have you decided to go shopping for asparagus? Then learn these simple tips to help you choose a fresh and really healthy product.
Of course, the first step is to take a close look at the asparagus. Pay attention to the tips: they should be tightly closed and compact. The stalks should be firm to the touch, stand up straight, and have a smooth texture. Fresh asparagus is odorless bright green.
Asparagus comes in four sizes: small, standard, large and jumbo. Many people think that thinner asparagus is more flavorful and tender but this is not true. If properly cooked, all sizes are delicious.
How to store asparagus?
Asparagus can be stored in a refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure that you do not wash them when storing. The bottom of the stems should be moist but it is very important that the remaining part of the asparagus is dry. Asparagus is washed just before cooking.
One way to store asparagus is to trim a half-inch from the ends of the asparagus and stand them upright in a jar or glass with about an inch of cold water in the bottom. Cover with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Optionally, you can wrap only the cut ends in a wet paper towel with a wet paper towel, place the bunch in a loose-fitting plastic bag, and store in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Asparagus recipes and cooking methods
Prior cooking the hard skin of asparagus should be peeled, first because it is hard to chew and if you skip that, it takes longer to cook. There is one major rule – asparagus is cooked as quickly as possible. If you overcook them, they will be soft and wilted and your dish will be spoiled. When properly cooked, asparagus are green and crunchy. Asparagus recipes feature different cooking methods – the veggies can be steamed, boiled, grilled, roasted, etc. Whichever method you choose, do not add acidic liquids like vinegar, wine, lemon juice, sauces, etc. during cooking asparagus as that may affect their color and taste.
How to boil asparagus?
In a large saucepan bring water to a boil. Add a little salt and cook asparagus until tender, about 5 minutes for medium and 7 minutes for jumbo size. Drain, place the asparagus on a plate, add spices to taste or lemon juice and serve.
How to steam asparagus?
Place the asparagus in the steamer basket and cover. Cook on high heat and once steam forms cook until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately or shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process if not eating right away.
How to grill asparagus?
Grilled asparagus is very tasty and aromatic. It only takes you 5 minutes to prepare it. Simply heat the grill to medium-high heat, drizzle olive oil on the asparagus and cook. Optionally, you can use a piece of aluminum foil onto the grill grates which will prevent the veggies from falling through the grates. For a steamed effect, simply wrap the asparagus in foil before grilling.
How to sautee asparagus?
You can also cook asparagus in a skillet. Heat butter or oil in a thick skillet. Sautee the vegetables for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with lemon juice or grated cheese before serving.
How to roast asparagus?
If you bought thick-stemmed asparagus, roast it! Coat a baking sheet with a little oil, and line the asparagus in an even layer at some distance from each other. Drizzle some oil over the veggies and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook in a preheated oven at 400°F (204ºC) for about 10 minutes.
Asparagus Recipes – Bacon Wrapped Bundles
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
2 pounds/900g asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 slices bacon
1 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F/200C. Lightly grease a 9×13inch/ 33 x 23 cm baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce and Sriracha, if using; set aside.
Lightly coat asparagus with olive oil; season with pepper, to taste.
Divide asparagus into 6 bundles, wrapping each bundle with a slice of bacon to secure the spears together.
Place asparagus bundles in a single layer into the prepared baking dish. Top with butter mixture.
Place into oven and bake until bacon is crisp and asparagus are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds, if desired.
Garlic Roasted Cheesy Asparagus Recipe
1 lb/450g fresh asparagus, ends snapped off
3 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Spread the asparagus, evenly, in a single layer on a large sheet pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and garlic until evenly combined. Pour the mixture evenly out over the vegetables. Toss the asparagus until completely coated.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bake at 425F/210C for 15 minutes, or until the asparagus has become tender.
Carefully take the pan from the oven, sprinkle the cheeses evenly out over the asparagus. Return to the oven, baking an extra 2 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.
Turn the broiler on, and broil just until the cheese bubbles and begins to turn golden brown.
Easy Asparagus Pastry Twists
24 Asparagus Spears
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
1 Pre-Rolled Puff Pastry Sheet
1 Egg, small to medium
½ cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded/grated
Rinse the asparagus under running water. Cut the hard pale ends off. Place the trimmed asparagus spears in a bowl wide enough so they fit in. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss them around or mix with your hands to make sure they are evenly coated.
Unroll the puff pastry sheet. Cut it into about ½ inch (1.5 cm) strips wide. Take a strip and wrap it around the asparagus spear, leaving some free space in between. Leave the tip free.
Place this onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Repeat until you are done. Brush each asparagus twist with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for 10 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.
Serve warm with a dip of your choice.
Asparagus Recipes – Puff Pastry Bundles
3 tbsps Dijon Mustard
1 tbsp Mayonnaise
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 bunches Fresh Asparagus, about 27 stalks
1 sheets Puff Pastry
2 ounces Proscuitto, sliced (about 9 slices)
½ cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
Combine Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix together.
Rinse asparagus and cut about 2-3 inches off of the bottom of the asparagus.
Cut one sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares. Brush each square with the mustard sauce. Then fold a slice of prosciutto in half and place on the puff pastry square. Sprinkle with about 1 tbsp of cheddar cheese and place 3-4 asparagus stalks on top.
Fold one side of the puff pastry on top of the other to form a wrap. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds on top. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until puff pastry is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Turkey and Asparagus Stir-Fry Recipe
For the stir-fry:
1½ tbsp vegetable oil
1lb./450g lean ground turkey
1 bunch asparagus (10-12 stalks), remove woody ends and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch/2,5cm fresh ginger, minced
¾ cup green onions, chopped
For the sauce:
½ cup chicken broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice vinegar
¼ tsp sesame oil
Cooked Rice, for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients: chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and sesame oil until well-combined. Set aside.
In a large sauté pan or skillet at medium-high heat, pour in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and then add the ground turkey. Break down the turkey into small pieces until it is fully cooked through. Place the turkey into a bowl. Set aside.
Pour in the remaining half tablespoon of vegetable oil along with the asparagus and bell pepper into the pan. Sauté until they just begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute. Return the ground turkey to the pan.
Pour the sauce into the pan. Carefully toss all the ingredients together to make sure the sauce evenly coats the ground turkey and vegetables, about 2-3 minutes or until all the ingredients are heated through.
Top with green onions and serve over rice.
Asparagus and chicken pasta recipe
1 lb/450g Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, sliced in half lengthwise
1 Tsp Salt, divided
½ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper, divided
1 lb/450g Asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch/5cm pieces
2 Cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
¼ Cup Basil Pesto
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided
12 oz/340g Dry Fettuccine or linguine
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken on both sides with half of the salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken in a single layer and sear for 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes, before slicing it into strips.
While the chicken is cooling, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet, and add the asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Add in the garlic and sauté, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender-crisp.
Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the skillet, pesto, and the sliced chicken, and bring the liquid to a simmer.
As soon as it starts bubbling, add the cooked pasta, and toss to coat the noodles in the sauce.