Thursday, March 5, 2009

Springtime Asparagus

At first thought, this recipe is too easy to share. Does it even count as cooking? But if I could convert even one person to an advocate for this strange vegetable, then it would be worth it. Am I too dramatic? It's just a vegetable after all. But asparagus marks the onset of spring. I'll be bold (and probably incorrect) and say it's the first vegetable of the year to ripen. And what a strange vegetable it is. If my mother had served this to me in my formative years I probably would have tried to feed it to the dog under the table. I mean, it makes your pee smell. That's weird. But sauteed just right, it is crisp and substantive. The simplicity of ingredients lets the stalk shine. It is my all-time favorite vegetable.
Sauteed Asparagus:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
handful of asparagus
pepper To cut asparagus, take one stalk and bend it until it breaks. Use this as a guide when chopping off the ends of the rest of the stalks. You don't really want to eat the bottom of the asparagus because it's pretty starchy. To pick good asparagus at the store make sure they are firm and nicely colored like the ones in the top photo. I prefer thinner asparagus.
Heat olive oil or butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add asparagus and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetable turns a brighter green and you can see that a bit of the asparagus has been toasted brown. You do not want to over-cook asparagus like they do at restaurants. Limp asparagus is an atrocity in my opinion, so I wouldn't recommend steaming it.
I've also cooked asparagus with these ingredients in foil on the grill. Asparagus goes well with steak and potatoes.


Kenton said...

We love asparagus as well. Our favorite way to prepare it is similar to yours. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and broil them for a few minutes. The smoky flavor imparted by the broiler is great :)

lindsey baker said...

Mmm. This is my kind of recipe. Add five-minute couscous and I would eat that twice a day for at least two weeks.

Maria said...

Love asparagus! It tastes great when you put it directly on the grill as well (rather than in foil). Mmm, can't wait for grilling season again!

Jess said...

This is my favorite way with asparagus, too. And you might have been incorrect about it being the first veggie to "ripen". Well, does spinach count? Either way, asparagus is the best early thing to harvest!