It’s asparagus season and as it is a particular favourite in our house we really make the most of it…
So if you are eating it a couple of times a week like us it is nice to find some different ways to cook it. Here are the four ways I swap between.
First of all though, the preparation…
Asparagus come in green or white varieties. Both delicious but we manage to get the green ones in our local market so we tend to eat those. I always wash them and then take off the woody ends…. I test with a knife to see at what moment the knife passes easily through the asparagus and cut there. It depends one each one but is usually 2-3cm off the bottom.
For the white ones you also need to use a potato peeler or sharp knife to take off the outer layer of skin from the bottom half of the asparagus
The first way I ever ate asparagus – cooked almost standing up in the pan as the bottom of the asparagus needs more cooking than the top (which is great just steamed). Just put a small amount of water in the bottom of the pan and this way takes 5-10 minutes (again depending on size of asparagus and how much you like it cooked). Sometimes I put a very small amount of water in a frying pan and lie the asparagus down in it. When you cover with a lid and heat the effect is the same.
For this I use a griddle pan which I put on the top of the stove. Just lay them down and cook until lightly browned – you will need to turn them occasionally.
This is one of my new ways this year and absolutely divine. Put the raw asparagus in an oven dish and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and add a whole lemon cut in quarters. Bake for about 15 minutes.
For this the asparagus need to be really fresh and crunchy. Simply chop them into circular pieces up the stem and eat as a salad – again with some olive oil and lemon juice.
Asparagus love lemons (as you may have guessed from above!), and of course a good quality extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil and black pepper. For me this is the simplest and best way. However I also enjoy them with a poached egg or crumbled hard-boiled eggs mixed with chopped parsley. Just the parsley and lemon juice is also good. Or with slithers of parmesan cheese.
Cook them until lightly browned
Sometimes for a very complete meal I will just add them on top of a grain dish like this one with quinoa couscous.
Finally – why bother?
1. It’s loaded with nutrients: asparagus is a very good source of fibre, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium – a great superfood!
2. Asparagus is a brain booster: like leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate, which works with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive decline.
3. It’s a natural diuretic: the amino acid asparagine is a natural diuretic which is great for people with fluid retention and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases.
So enjoy the asparagus season – it’s only a few weeks long!