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How to Cook Asparagus

By Edited Jun 9, 2015 2 14

Cooking Asparagus


   Asparagus is a perennial vegetable, well worth growing at home. Its fern makes a beautiful addition to any backyard, and asparagus cooked straight from the garden is a great spring feast. It may take a few years to get an asparagus patch established, but then it will provide succulent green spears for as long as thirty or forty years.

   Height of the season is April and May. Look for round firm, fresh-looking spears, very green with smooth tight tips. Thickness does not affect tenderness.

   Cook plain or with sauces, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, as an appetizer, in soups, salads, vegetable custards, or in quiches. As a side dish asparagus goes well with beef, veal and salmon. Figure on 6 to 8 spears per person.

Basic Method for Cooking Asparagus

24 large asparagus

   Wash the asparagus and cut or break off the tough, colorless, woody bottom of each stalk. Peel with a vegetable peeler, lightly near the top and more deeply toward the bottom. Plunge the spears into a large pot of boiling water and boil gently until the bottoms are just tender when pierced with a knife. Begin testing after 5 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Drain well and serve with melted butter, Hollandaise sauce or cheese sauce.

Asparagus Vinaigrette

Asparagus Vinegarette

   Spoon 1/2 cup basic vinaigrette dressing over hot or cold asparagus, either ahead of time or just before serving.

Dressing recipe;
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive or salad oil

In a small bowl mix vinegar and salt and let stand a few minutes. Add the pepper and slowly stir or whisk in the oil. Taste for acid and salt and add more if to bland. Stir to blend before serving, or store in  a jar with a tight lid and shake well before using.

Makes 4 servings.

Stir-Fried Asparagus

Stir Fry Asparagus
Asparagus cooked in the Chinese way will be crisp and very green.

1 pound thin asparagus
2 to 3 tablespoons cooking oil
salt freshly ground pepper

   Wash the asparagus and trim the bottoms. Cut in 1/2-inch slices, slanted at the ends. Heat the oil in a wok ora skillet, add the asparagus, and sauté quickly, tossing frequently, until all the pieces are coated, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, just until tender. season to taste, and serve immediately.

Chicken-Asparagus Divan

Chicken-Asparagus Divan

3 cups cooked asparagus
8 or more slices cooked chicken
4 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups white sauce
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

   Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a shallow baking dish and lay the asparagus over the bottom. Put the chicken over the asparagus. Add sherry to the white sauce, heat, beat 2 tablespoons of sauce into the egg yolks, then stir the yolk sauce mixture back into the sauce. Add salt to taste. Spoon evenly over the chicken, sprinkle with cheese, and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until very hot.

Serves 4.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

An appealing-looking soup with a pleasing asparagus taste.

1 pound fresh asparagus, or 1 package frozen
1-1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth  

2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 cup milk or cream
freshly ground pepper
If using fresh asparagus, wash stalks and cut off the coarse ends. Cook in 2 cups boiling water until tender.Drain, reserving 1 cup of the water. Cut off the asparagus tips, chop them and reserve. Put the chicken stock, onion, and reserved water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and simmer for 5 minutes. Put through a strainer or vegetable mill or purée in a food processor or electric blender. Return to the pot and add the milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and adjust the seasonings. Before serving, sprinkle with chopped asparagus tips.
Makes 4 cups



Aug 8, 2011 3:52pm
I planted asparagus for the first time this year without realizing that it would take so long to get the patch established (as you point out). Your article has invigorated me so I will give the plants some care and attention, especially if they are so prolific once they get the initial start.
Aug 8, 2011 4:54pm
Thanks Tom. Keep your patch up and I assure you that you'll be very pleased that you planted asparagus. I had an article with tips on growing too.
Aug 9, 2011 1:31am
We've having cold, wet weather here and that soup just looks so nice. You share some lovely recipes.
Aug 9, 2011 12:23pm
Thanks Judy.
Aug 10, 2011 11:22am
Great tips as always. One of my favorite asparagus recipes is to wrap each stalk with prosciutto and bake until the meat is crisp. The flavor combination is divine!
Aug 10, 2011 11:25am
That sounds awesome G. Will have to try it. Thanks
Aug 12, 2011 3:10pm
Your recipes are always so yummy! We grow asparagus in our garden. The seeds have flown all over our yard, including the front fo the house!
Aug 16, 2011 8:21am
So you have a fernful yard.
Aug 27, 2011 10:49pm
Asparagus is the only vegetable that I like enough to grow myself. I've had an asparagus patch for a long time and it still does really well.

I always just cook it and eat with salt and butter, but I'll have to try some of your ideas. Also want to try Diva's idea above. Sounds great.
Aug 29, 2011 8:42am
Thanks aguy.
Aug 29, 2011 1:09pm
Another option is to throw it on the grill, on top of some foil with a little lemon water.
Aug 29, 2011 9:38pm
We love asparagus cooked, with a little butter on top. Or, in a cream of asparagus soup. I will be checking out your article on growing them, also. Thanks for sharing some more amazing recipes.
Sep 5, 2011 4:14pm
Thank you Sgirl
Sep 8, 2011 5:35pm
The Chicken-Asparagus Divan sounds yummy. I should give it a go and see how good it taste.
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