Asparagus is a great source of nutrition and can be cooked in a variety of ways, from steamed to boiled and even fried and is quite tasty when paired with herbs such as basil, thyme, turmeric. The vegetable goes well with a variety of dishes.

Before preparing your fresh asparagus for cooking, always wash them first to get the dirt and other debris out of its crevices. Also, when it comes to chopping up your asparagus, sometimes, the bottom end can be too woody for your taste. For this reason, it's best to cut this end, as it takes longer to cook and isn't as tasty as the tip. Whichever way you prefer, here are some suggestions of ways you can cultivate an asparagus-loving palette if you haven't already or if you'd like suggestions on other means to cook them.

Steamed

A plate of asparagus

Steaming vegetables is one of the best means to retain the nutritional value of the food. It also helps to preserve a fruit or vegetable's color, texture, and flavor, all things which can become compromised when cooked any other way. Steamed asparagus is no exception, as it not only softens the vegetable but also helps to enhance its flavor. With added herbs and spices, such as salt, pepper and perhaps a pinch of allspice, you can take your asparagus to the next level. Additionally, if you do not have a steamer, a metallic colander will do. Here's a quick steamed asparagus recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of skinny asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • Herbs for taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour about 2 inches of water into a medium-sized pot then bring it to a boil.
  2. Place a colander inside the pot, then the asparagus inside.
  3. Cover with a lid, so that the steam can emanate throughout the pot.
  4. Cook the asparagus for about 5 minutes or until tender, then move away from the heat.
  5. Transfer the asparagus to a plate and add a pat of butter, salt, and/or herbs for added flavor.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

Roasted

Asparagus on a baking tray

Roasting is a way of cooking that entails heating food inside of an oven or over an open fire. Although this method is used today, it is also probably one of the oldest ways of cooking. Asparagus is a great candidate for roasting if you are a bit sensitive to its sometimes bitter flavor which softens while baking in the oven. Roasting also enables you to go about your other business in the kitchen as it prepares itself without you having to constantly stir or turn it over. Whether it's crispy ends that you prefer or if you like slightly browned edges, roasting is the perfect method to give a bit of edge to this viridescent produce.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • A dash of salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • A dash of dill or tarragon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and trim the asparagus as necessary.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the asparagus, butter, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, and herbs until well coated.
  4. Place the asparagus side-by-side onto a baking sheet. Then place the baking sheet into the oven.
  5. Roast for about 15-20 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and slightly crispy.
  6. When done, sprinkle the asparagus with lemon juice, then serve.

Boiled

Asparagus submerged in water

Boiling vegetables not only help to soften asparagus but is an easy method for cooking the vegetable in a manner that helps maintain its nutrients and add a bit of hydration to your food. Although this method may not seem as exciting as others, it is an effective means to maintain asparagus' green color, which is done by blanching. Blanching is the act of immediately placing food into a tub of ice water to halt the cooking process so that you maintain its nutritional value, color, texture, and flavor. Thick asparagus works best for this method, as it will hold up better to the softening process, without becoming too soft or soggy.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 1 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • a dash of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, bring one or two inches of water to a boil.
  2. Rinse and trim the asparagus as necessary. Then submerge into the boiling water.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes, or about 7 minutes if you are cooking thicker asparagus.
  4. Drain, then transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and top with a pat of butter.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Grilled

Asparagus on a grill

Grilling involves utilizing dry heat to apply to the surface of a food that can be cooked in a barbeque pit or atop a grilling pan. Though this form of cooking is typically associated with meat, it also gives vegetables a smoky, hint of a barbequed flavor, which means that you won't have to utilize marinades, sauces, butter, or oils to maintain the flavor. Additionally, grilling also helps maintain the nutritional value of vegetables which helps break down fiber so your body can better absorb the nutrients.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons of parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Rinse and trim the asparagus.
  2. Place the asparagus into a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle a dash of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place the asparagus onto the grill and cook for two minutes. Rotate the asparagus and cook for another one to two minutes, or until tender.
  4. Transfer the asparagus to a plate, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Sauté

Asparagus in a frying pan

Sautéeing enables you to utilize a small amount of oil with a food then applying high heat and according to some studies, may even help boost the nutritional benefits of vegetables. Sautéeing is highly beneficial as the oil that is used during this process helps to lock in the nutrients. It is quick and easy and you look like a cooking pro while doing it.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon and herbs (Optional)

Instructions

  1. Rinse and trim the asparagus and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter or heat the olive oil on medium-high heat in a frying pan.
  3. Add the garlic and asparagus. Then cover and allow it to cook for about 10 minutes or until tender.
  4. If you prefer your asparagus extra tender, you may allow it to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Take the asparagus off of the heat and transfer to a dish. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Raw

A dish of raw asparagus

Believe it or not, asparagus can be eaten raw. Although asparagus as a viable amount of vitamins and minerals, like many vegetables, it is best for you raw. With the help of other flavorful ingredients, raw asparagus can be your regular go-to food to pair with a variety of other meals, as a side dish, or eaten alone.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, rinsed, trimmed, and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • finely grated lemon zest
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 1 cup of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the chopped asparagus with olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, mint leaves, and paprika.
  2. Then add in the parmesan cheese, chopped walnuts, mint leaves, then salt and pepper to taste. Mix all of the ingredients until evenly incorporated.
  3. Spoon the asparagus into a small bowl and serve.

Asparagus is a delicious vegetable that has quite the unique taste. However, not everyone has the same palate. Try incorporating these cooking methods into your kitchen to shake up your skills and your taste buds.

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