Do you like asparagus? Love it or hate it, unless you know how to cook it and how to use it, you may be missing out on a delectable treat.
Asparagus has long been prized as a delicacy but did you know it was also used medicinally in ancient India and parts of Asia? Asparagus contains a component called saponins which are believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They are also believed to aide in maintaining blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Asparagus is high in vitamin K and several of the B vitamins. It contains vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, manganese and potassium. All in all, if you want to choose a vegetable that is nutritious as well as delicious, you can’t go wrong choosing the lowly asparagus.
Choose asparagus that is young and tender. Growing your own will ensure you can pick it at the right time to enjoy its goodness. Thicker asparagus will have to be peeled because the stem can be stringy and tough. Wash the vegetable and then cook it whole.
An easy way to prepare asparagus is to heat five or six tablespoons of vegetable or chicken broth in a skillet. When you begin to see bubbles, add the asparagus to the pan and cover it. Allow the asparagus to sauté/steam for about five minutes. Remove them from the pan and then toss them with balsamic vinegar.
Add sliced asparagus to your favorite pasta. Season it with rosemary, tarragon or thyme, fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.
If you have leftover asparagus, don’t throw it away. Chop it up and add to the next morning’s omelet. Not only will this use the asparagus, it will add an extra surprise to breakfast.
How about grilling asparagus? If you’re careful, you can place the spears on the grill for a minute or two to get a nice char on them. Turn them and cook for another minute on the other side. In a small bowl mix together olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan cheese. When the asparagus comes off the grill, toss them with the dressing.
Finally, you can steam asparagus and then sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Some people add dressing but the vegetable tastes delicious with nothing more than simple seasonings.
If you think you won’t enjoy asparagus, now that you know some different methods for preparing it, you may want to give it a try.
The quick herb dressing for this recipe can be made in the same amount of time it takes to roast the asparagus and it’s pretty versatile. Use it to dress other green vegetables (like steamed green beans or sugar snap peas) or spoon it over toasted bread like a tapenade.. Try to find the fattest asparagus you can find, as the inner center is the most tender and in the spring time you don’t need to peel the outside. If you use skinny asparagus, adjust the roasting time accordingly to make sure you don’t overcook the asparagus.
Prep Time10 minutes Cook Time10 minutes Total Time20 minutes
Ingredients Roasted Asparagus
1 1/2 pounds fat asparagus see head note above
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Olive and Herb Dressing
1 regular lemon
4 garlic cloves minced or forced through a press
1/3 cup olives see headnote above, minced or chopped fine
3 green onions finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper or more to tast
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Snap the ends off of the asparagus with your fingers. It should naturally snap off at the woody part, leaving the tender part to roast. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over it. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over asparagus, then using your hands, toss the asparagus to coat. Roast the asparagus in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes (if the asparagus is fat) or 8 to 10 minutes if the asparagus is skinny. You want the asparagus to be tender crisp and bright in color still.