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Market Day: 5 Delicious Ways to Use Fresh Asparagus

fresh asparagus for lunch
Image by annethelibrarian via Flickr

We’re half way through May, and asparagus is in season! This beautiful vegetable is often featured in decorative art as a sign of spring and good food. But how on earth are you supposed to cook and eat it?

First of all, choose thin, tender stalks. Asparagus starts to get tough and woody as it matures. Trim the cut ends and rinse well with water, then steam, roast, etc. Yum!

  1. Simply roast it. All you need to do is toss the asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper, and roast alone or with onions, garlic, and potato on a baking sheet for 10 minutes at 400F. (Potatoes and other vegetables will have longer cooking times, so roast them until they have only 10 minutes left, then add the asparagus.)
  2. Add it to a wrap or pita sandwich instead of lettuce. Toss the asparagus into a pot of boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes, let cool a bit and then chop. (You can also rinse under cold water to cool.) Mix into salads like tuna or chicken. Ta da!
  3. Make a simple salad. Steam asparagus in a vegetable steamer for 5-6 minutes, then toss with arugula, chopped bell peppers, minced garlic, lemon juice, and whatever other yummy greens or herbs you have on hand. Add a bit of oil or vinaigrette, and you’re all set.
  4. Enhance a simple risotto or couscous: Cook rice or couscous in vegetable broth instead of plain water, and add roasted garlic, steamed and chopped asparagus, lemon juice, and chives. A tip for making a creamy risotto: brown the dry rice in oil for a couple of minutes before adding boiling water and steaming.
  5. Use up leftovers in a creamy soup: Chop up only the stalks (saving the tips), and add to a hodge-podge vegetable soup. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, then add the tips back in and reheat for 2-3 minutes. Presto! (Even if you don’t want to puree all of the soup, consider pureeing some cooked rice with some of the broth, and then adding it to the soup. It adds creaminess without dairy or extra fat and calories.)
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May 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment